As part of a new online safety campaign about risks that consumers face online, the Digital Citizens Alliance (DCA) has partnered with the Attorneys General of 19 US states and the District of Columbia (Washington DC), to co-develop a series of public service announcements (PSAs) designed to elevate consumer awareness for a triumvirate of online risks: Online piracy, malware and credit card fraud.
In addition to being posted online, the PSAs will be promoted through a social media campaign and submitted for airing on local TV stations.
“These PSAs warn consumers of the lengths that piracy operators will go to exploit their users,” said Tom Galvin, DCA’s Executive Director. “Piracy operators dangle free content. But what they don’t tell you is that the content is bait designed to infect users’ devices and enable criminals to abuse their credit cards,” he said.
The campaign uses findings of a DCA report released this June, Giving Piracy Operators Credit; which surveyed more than 2,000 US consumers and found that nearly three quarters of those who used a credit card to purchase a piracy subscription service subsequently experienced episodes of fraud. 44% of those users also experienced identity theft.
Participating in the DCA PSA project are the Attorneys General of California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont and Virginia.
But that’s not all
In addition to the risks highlighted in this consumer campaign, DCA also informed Piracy Monitor of a new report describing the risks to consumers who depend upon virtual private networks (VPNs) to protect their privacy online; to be released in November.
“A lot of consumers use VPNs but don’t understand them and don’t know whether or not they are regulated (they aren’t),” said Mr. Galvin. “Like it or not, VPNs track your every move. Consumers need to understand their providers and know what they do with this tracking data,” he said.
State Attorneys General Warn Consumers: Illicit Piracy Services Harm Through Credit Card Fraud and Malware. Press release. October 31, 2023. Digital Citizens Alliance.
PSA videos can be viewed at:
Why it matters
In addition to exposing consumers to financial fraud, piracy websites are also closely tied to the spread of ransomware and other malware designed to cripple users’ devices and steal personal and financial information.