Dangers of downloading free pirated movies

By Gray Hall - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Free sounds good, but it's not always the best option, especially when it comes to online offers. The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers about the dangers of downloading free movies online.

Who doesn't love a good movie? Tell someone it's "free" and almost no one can resist. Tom Gallagher, with the Richmond BBB warns, don't be fooled into downloading free movies from illegal sites.

"This is risky in a lot of ways. Number one, the risk is that if it's not an authorized download it is pirated video and you are taking somebody else's material," he said. Gallagher says it is typically the younger consumers that can't resist.

"These things typically get very hot on college campuses and that is a place we really want to be warning folks is just don't get involved, don't get in the habit of doing that and don't put your good name at risk."

Going to the movies can add up quickly, there's the popcorn, the drink, the candy, and of course the ticket. The cost alone can make downloading a free movie tempting but remember, just one click and you can be letting crooks inside your computer.

"They will get your information, they will get your banking information, they will get personal information about you, they will get your social security number because that is what these guy do for a living," he said.

While you may never get caught -- there is always the chance you will. And Gallagher says remember -- if something goes with the download -- you're on your own.

"If something goes south on you, there is not a darn thing you can do about it because it was an illegal act, there is nobody there who is going to be anxious to listen to you or help you," he said.

The Motion Picture Association of America has list of legal websites that offer free and paid movie sites. If you want to know if a site you're visiting is legal, look for statements that say they have obtained copyright permission. Fines for Copyright Infringement can range up to 250-thousand dollars and you could spend five years in prison.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.