CHARLESTON – Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has urged West Virginia high school and college students to be cautious when using services like iTunes and Netflix to download music and movies because of a scam that targets these users.

The specific scam preys on students who spend a lot of time on their computer and phone. The scammers send a letter notifying the student they have been accused of illegally downloading movies or music on the Internet. The letter will appear to be from an Internet service provider or downloading service, and it typically offers to settle the dispute and not pursue the crime if you send a check for a certain amount.

“A lot of young consumers use reputable services like Netflix or iTunes to stream movies or download music onto their electronic devices,” Morrisey said in a press release. “Scammers are trying to take advantage of these consumers by scaring them into believing they have somehow committed a crime, and strong-arming them into sending a check to avoid trouble.”

Consumers who receive these types of letters should always check the validity of the claim. Research the name of the company that is making the accusations, and if the scammers are using a well-known company or provider, always call that company directly to verify.

“It is critical to do your research before blindly complying when you get a random notice pressuring you to send a check,” Morrisey said.

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