Netflix is a digital streaming platform that showcases movies, television shows, and documentaries. From its humble beginnings as a digital DVD rental provider, Netflix has become a heavy hitter in the online streaming world. With just over 200 million subscribers, Netflix provides around 3,600 movies and 1,800 TV shows to viewers worldwide.
As with any modern business that provides a service, emails, text messages, and social media are used to connect with their consumer base.
As a subscriber to Netflix, think about the first time you agreed to pay monthly to access their content. You probably received a welcome email, then a text message on your smartphone about billing notifications and payment preferences, and probably a link to Netflix’s social media pages encouraging you to follow and stay up-to-date with what everyone is watching.
Each time you see “Netflix” on the subject line of a newly received email, you will always assume and trust that the message is coming from the actual Netflix company. But what if that is not always the case?
Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon experienced massive growth in subscribers during the pandemic, making them an attractive target for scammers trying to cash in.
Scammers send phishing emails and text messages that include Netflix’s logos/branding and request that you click on a link to claim a free subscription or update their account details. The link opens a website that asks you to sign in with your email and password, then to a page requesting your payment details. These pages may look like the legitimate Netflix website but are designed by scammers to harvest credit card details and personal information.
Once you’ve entered your details, the scam website automatically directs you back to the official Netflix website. Unfortunately, you may not realize you’ve been tricked until your bank account is compromised.
Netflix isn't just a brand used by imposters to scam you, it can be a good source of information on how to spot scams too. The streaming platform has several documentaries (e.g., The Tinder Swindler), movies, and series that can educate you on how scams work and how to avoid them.
Scammers are getting really good at impersonating brands like Netflix. Some of the things that they do to make it difficult to tell it is a scam include:
Netflix scams are widespread, with phishing scams increasing by 60% from 2019 to 2020. But, you do not have to be a sitting duck.
Not only can you protect yourself by learning to recognize the signs of what a suspicious message looks like, but you can also be proactive in protecting yourself.
Netflix will never ask you to enter your personal information in a text or email, such as your:
They will also never request payment via a third-party vendor.
To protect yourself against phishing attacks and other scams, take time to investigate the source and content of suspicious emails or messages. You can also utilize software to protect against potential malware and viruses lurking behind a bad link.
One of the ways to stay safe with Netflix is to choose the payment type that gives you the most protection if your details are compromised. There are several ways to pay for your subscription, including:
Credit cards are the most secure way to pay for recurring Netflix subscriptions. Most credit cards have fraud monitoring and zero fraud liability, so you have a good chance of getting your money back if there are fraudulent transactions on your credit card.
PayPal does offer a secure way to pay via credit card, debit card, or direct from your bank account. If you use a credit card to pay via PayPal, it does create an additional barrier to someone directly accessing your accounts. Standard Credit Card protections may not apply if you use PayPal, so check with your provider to see if you are covered.
Gift cards and Prepaid cards are like cash. If someone steals the card details, your losses are limited to the amount you prepaid on the card. So, your chances of getting the money back are almost zero.
Debit cards are the highest risk form of payment. They are tied directly into your account, so if someone gets your details, they can take all of your money. While many banks have fraud monitoring on bank accounts that may flag suspicious activity, you don’t get zero fraud liability as you do on a credit card.
Netflix has never offered a free subscription for an entire year. If you receive this offer from "Netflix," it's a scam.
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With more than 200 millions subscribers worldwide, it's no wonder scammers target Netflix customers, attempting to hack accounts and steal information.
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