If you are a Netflix customer, be aware that criminals regularly use the video streaming company’s name and logo to steal sensitive personal information, distribute malware, and trick people into signing up for fraudulent “Netflix alternatives”.
Because of the service’s popularity and worldwide customer base, scammers see fake Netflix notification messages as an easy way to gain new victims. And, sadly, it works for them. People become victims of such scams every day.
Phishing is perhaps the most common type of scam that targets Netflix users.
Typically, these scams involve fake notification messages that falsely claim that there is a problem with your Netflix subscription that you need to deal with if you wish to continue using the service.
They may claim that you must update your subscription information, verify your account details for security reasons, or correct a billing error. Often, they will claim that your subscription will be cancelled or suspended if you don’t take action to rectify the supposed problem.
The notifications usually tell you to fix the issue by clicking a link to update your account information. But, the links actually open a website featuring a fraudulent account update form. The form will ask for personal information such as your name and contact details as well as your credit card numbers and other identifying information. Criminals can nab the information you provide and use it to commit credit card fraud and identity theft.
In some versions, you may be asked to open an attached file to update your details rather than click a link. The scam messages are usually delivered via email. However, some versions may be distributed via text message.
In some cases, rather than ask you to fill in a form, the links or attachments try to trick you into downloading malware. Once installed, the malware could lock up your computer’s files and then demand that you pay a ransom to get the “unlock” key.
Or, the malware may steal sensitive information such as your banking or social media passwords and send it to criminals.
‘Better Than Netflix’ Scams
Another angle that scammers use is to try to entice Netflix users into signing up for a supposedly free and better streaming service. Typically, these sites promise free access to thousands of videos. But, the sites insist that you enter your credit card details, ostensibly in order to verify your account.
Many people report that they are unexpectedly charged expensive monthly fees for “premium” subscriptions that they know nothing about. And, even after being charged, you certainly won’t gain access to all of the promised videos. Despite their appearance, these bogus streaming sites do not provide legitimate or legal access to movies and TV shows as services like Netflix do.
These outfits use deceptive tactics such as fake Facebook giveaways to lure potential victims and certainly should not be trusted with your credit card details or any other personal information
Avoiding Such Scams
Be wary of any email or text message that claims that there is a problem with your Netflix payment that needs your attention. Or those that claim that you must verify your account or perform an upgrade. If you receive such a message, do not follow any links or open any attachments that it contains.
If in doubt, access your Netflix account by entering the address into your browser’s address bar or via an official Netflix app. If there really is an account problem that you need to deal with, you will no doubt receive an internal notification after you have logged in.
Moreover, don’t trust any supposed streaming service that claims to be free but demands that you provide credit card details to gain access.
Do a little research of any new streaming service that you encounter to ascertain its legitimacy before signing up.
Customers of Other Streaming Services Also Potential Targets
With more and more streaming services becoming available, online crooks will no doubt continue to use the same tactics to target customers of these other services. Regardless of which streaming services you subscribe to, use the guidelines outlined above to protect yourself from becoming a victim.
Screenshot of a typical Netflix scam email: