Scammers are capitalizing on the popularity of "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker," which debuted Thursday, to target fans of the movie, according to security company Kaspersky.
Kaspersky said it has found at least 30 fraudulent websites and social media profiles disguised as official movie accounts that supposedly offer free streams of the new "Star Wars" film, but instead steal credit card information. Consumers are told they must enter their credit card details to register for the sites, which they claim is necessary to access the stream.
Such "phishing" campaigns — in which victims are lured into providing data by pretending to offer a valid service or to represent a real company — aren't the only streaming scams consumers should be wary of. Criminals often offer streams of popular shows that are infected with malware aimed at pilfering personal data, the company said.
"It is typical for fraudsters and cybercriminals to try to capitalize on popular topics, and 'Star Wars' is a good example of such a theme this month," said Tatiana Sidorina, security researcher at Kaspersky, in a statement.
The scammers attract consumers by using so-called "black search engine optimization" techniques, or using descriptions and supporting content that appears to be connected to the official film, the company said. That helps lift these fake sites to the top of internet search results, using terms including the name of the film and "watch free."
Consumers should beware these offers, Kaspersky said, adding that it's found 83 consumers who have been hit with 65 malicious files that instead appear to be copies of "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker."
"We advise users to not fall for such scams and instead enjoy the end of the saga on the big screen," Sidorina said.