How to Spot Fake Torrent File Downloads

Don't Get Fooled Into Downloading Viruses & Codec Scam Files!

Image of people watching a movie with a scary or inappropriate scene
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Scammers and dishonest P2P individuals use false torrents to phish people's identities, trick them out of their money, or vandalize their computers through malware infections.

Fortunately, you don't have to be one of those people. There are some obvious signs that a torrent file you're looking at is fake, or should at very least be dealt with carefully.

Below are 10 tips to help you spot a fake torrent movie or music file. Be sure to also check out our continually updated list of the top torrent sites!

01
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Beware Lots of Seeds but No or Few Comments

Abusive uploaders will often falsify the number of seeds and peers. Using software tools like BTSeedInflator, these abusers will make their torrents look like 10,000 or more users are sharing it.

If you see these kinds of massive seed/peer numbers, but there are no user comments on the file, you would be wise to avoid that file!

Any true torrent that has more than a few thousand seeds should also have positive user comments. If not, you're probably looking at a fake/bad torrent.

02
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Check for 'Verified' Status on the Torrent

Some torrent sites actually employ a committee of core users to confirm and 'verify' torrents.

While these verified files are small in number, they are very likely true torrents that can be trusted. Keep your antimalware software updated and active, and 'verified' files should be safe to download.

03
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Confirm the Movie Release Date with a Third Party

For brand new movie torrents, take a minute to visit IMDB and verify the release date.

If the torrent has been released before the actual movie date, then don't trust it.

Sure, there's a possibility that it could be the real thing, but much more often it's not, so beware.

04
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You Can Usually Trust AVI and MKV Files (but Avoid WMA and WMV Files)

For the most part, true movie files are in either the AVI or MKV format.

Conversely, the great majority of WMA and WMV files are fake. While there are some authentic examples, files that end in the .wma and .wmv extensions will link to other sites to get paid codecs or malware downloads.

Better to avoid those types of files completely.

05
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Be Careful With RAR, TAR, & ACE Files

Yes, there are legit uploaders who use RAR archives to share files, but for movies and music, the majority of RAR and and other archive type files are fake.

Torrent site abusers use the RAR format to conceal Trojan style malware and codec scam files. The video you're downloading is already compressed, so there's no need to compress it further in one of these formats.

If you see an attractive torrent movie file that is in the RAR, TAR, or ACE format, be very careful with it and examine its listed file contents before you download.

If there is no list of the contents, do not trust it. If the file list is disclosed, but it includes an EXE or other text-based instructions (more on those below), then move on.

06
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Always Read the Comments

Some torrent sites like will capture user comments on individual files. Like eBay feedback on other eBay users, these comments can give you a sense of how legitimate the file is.

If you see no comments on a file, be suspicious. If you see any negative comments on the file, then move on and find a better torrent.

07
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Beware if Password Instructions, Special Instructions, or EXE Files Are Included

If you see a file in the movie/music torrent that says 'password', 'special instructions', 'codec instructions', 'unrar instructions, 'important read me first', 'download instructions here', then the risk that this torrent is a scam or fake goes way up.

The instigator here is likely looking to redirect you to a shady website to download a dubious movie player as a precondition to opening the movie file.

Additionally, if there is an EXE or other executable file included, then most certainly avoid that torrent download. Executable files for movies and music should be a giant red flag!

EXE files and any passwords or special download instructions are likely a sign that you should find a better torrent download elsewhere.

08
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Avoid Using the Following Software

Some torrent software clients have earned a bad reputation for seeding malware, fraudulent codec downloaders, keyloggers and Trojans.

Our readers have repeatedly advised us to warn against using BitLord, BitThief, Get-Torrent, TorrentQ, Torrent101, and Bitroll.

Let us know if you disagree or have others for the list!

09
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Beware Trackers that Can't Be Found on Google

Open the published torrent details, and copy-paste the tracker names into Google. If a tracker is legitimate, you'll see a number of Google hits where many torrent sites point to the copy-pasted tracker.

If the tracker is false, you will find many unrelated hits at Google, often with the words 'fake' as P2P users post warnings on that fake tracker.

10
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Only Use These Media Players

These are plenty of trusted movie and music players for Windows, Mac, Linux, and your smartphone.

A few include WinAmp, Windows Media Player (WMP), VLC Media Player, GMPLayer, and KMPlayer... among others, of course.

Do a quick Google search for any media player you're not familiar with. With so many reputable options, don't risk downloading and installing something you've never heard of. It might end up being nothing but malware!

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