BitTorrent is supposed to be hassle free, that’s why it’s so attractive right? Sadly, it is also used by by scammers to generate money, often through trickery and deception. Recently, a new ring of BitTorrent rip off sites has sprung up, this time related to movie codecs.
Spamming BitTorrent sites with fake movies is nothing new. We’ve reported before how people download movies only to find out that they require a special media player to play it, or others, which are bundled with malware to infect their PC when they install it.
Today, sadly, we have to report on a new ring of BitTorrent scam sites. This particular brand notifies people who try to play a video file they’ve just downloaded that they need to download a codec if they want to play the file. The site they are redirected to is of course a scam, most of them are filled with annoying ads.
Thousands of downloaders have already fallen for this scam, and new reports keep coming in. The downloaded files are simply huge uncompressed videos, named after a popular release. This is what the message looks like: “Warning: HD Codec not detected. Please get the correct codec from [insert site here].”
The following sites have been related to these scams, but there are probably a few more.
Although we dispute the claim that your PC will be filled with spyware and viruses when you use BitTorrent, there are some basic steps people should know in order to avoid running into them. Below are two examples, for a detailed overview and more tips and tricks, check our tutorial on how to avoid fake torrents and other scams.
1. Read Comments
This is a simple but effective way to find out if the .torrent is legit or not. It only takes a few seconds but it’s time well spent. Very often there are requests from previous downloaders for a password to access the file or some might be asking where to download a special video player to view it.
2. Verify the Source
A good way to find out if a .torrent is real or not is to find out who uploaded the file. There are several well known users that always release torrents on a regular basis, EZTV is a good example.