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Fake 'Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker' streams are stealing fans' credit card info

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If you're a Star Wars fan, you're likely eager to watch "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker," which premiers this week to much anticipation. But if you Google the film with the intent of pirating it, you may risk fraudsters stealing your credit card information.

People searching for "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker watch free" may have compromised their credit card information, according to a press release from global cybersecurity company Kaspersky.

Kaspersky researchers found over 30 fraudulent websites and social media profiles disguised as official movie accounts that advertise free streaming of the latest film in the Star Wars franchise.

"These websites collect unwary users' credit card data, under the pretense of necessary registration on the portal," Kaspersky stated in the press release. And so far, 83 users have already been affected by 65 malicious files.

"The domains of websites used for gathering personal data and spreading malicious files usually copy the official name of the film and provide thorough descriptions and supporting content, thereby fooling users into believing that the website is, in some way, connected to the official film," Kaspersky said.

These fraudulent websites may also create Twitter and other social media accounts to try and promote their content and attract more users.

"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," Tatiana Sidorina, security researcher at Kaspersky, said in the press release. "As attackers manage to push malicious websites and content up in the search results, fans need to remain cautious at all times. We advise users to not fall for such scams and instead enjoy the end of the saga on the big screen."

CNBC Select recommends freezing your credit reports, so fraudsters can't open new credit accounts in your name. Unfortunately, freezing your credit isn't fool-proof and doesn't prevent cybercriminals from skimming your credit card information, like in this situation.

Thankfully, credit card issuers provide zero liability protection, which means you're not responsible for unauthorized charges. So if there was a fraudulent charge on your Citi® Double Cash Card, then you won't be held liable.

To avoid falling victim, Kaspersky recommends taking the following steps:

  • Pay attention to the official movie release dates in theaters, on streaming services, TV, DVD or other sources
  • Don't click on suspicious links, such as those promising an early view of a new film
  • Look at the downloaded file extension. It should have an .avi, .mkv or .mp4 extension, among other video formats, but not .exe
  • Check the website's authenticity and avoid websites that allow you to watch a movie until you are sure that they are legitimate and start with "https"
  • Confirm that the website is genuine by double-checking the format of the URL or the spelling of the company name, reading reviews about it and checking the domains' registration data before starting downloads
  • Use a reliable security solution
Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the CNBC Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.

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