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 grown into 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?
Ping! You get a message notification on your phone or computer. The subject line says that it is from Netflix, but how do you verify that information?
Some messages you might receive are merely traps sent by scammers to get you to reveal personal information under the guise of customer service. These types of Netflix scams are phishing scams.
Here are some signs of a Netflix scam email or text to look out for:
If you already have an account with Netflix, your personal information and payment method will already be known and stored within Netflix’s customer database. An email asking you to re-enter your information is suspicious.
Log into your Netflix account directly from the Netflix website (do not click on any links within the text message or email) to check that your account is in order.
If the message feels strange to you, do not trust the source and contact Netflix to notify them of the problem.
When you first sign up for Netflix, you are required to enter your payment information. This information remains stored in your Netflix account and their customer database, so a message asking for your credit or debit card information is a sign of a Netflix scam.
Your Netflix subscription service will always be paid through the Netflix website. A request to pay for your subscription via a third-party or alternative method is a Netflix billing scam. Additionally, if there is an issue with your billing, Netflix will always contact you directly and never from a third-party provider.
When you receive a suspicious email, check the email address in the “From” field to see exactly where that email came from. Legit emails from Netflix will usually come from an @mailer.netflix.com or @netflix.com address. Netflix email scams will come from a different email address.
Also, look out for suspicious links included in the email. If you’re unsure whether you’ve received a Netflix scam email, do not click the link. If you do click the link, avoid typing any personal information into that page.
While reading a message, whether a text or email, if you notice grammar errors or misspellings such as “Netflix” instead of “Netflix,” do not click any links in the Netflix scam email or interact with it in any way. Contact Netflix to report the issue and mark/report the email as spam.
Most Netflix scams are phishing scams. Phishing is a technique used to obtain personal information illegally from unsuspecting victims. Scammers use this technique to target individuals, especially customers of well-known brands, typically called brand impersonation.
Scammers will also use incentives (e.g., free Netflix trials) and urgent threats (e.g., you have five days to give your payment information, or your account will be deleted) to entice you to hand over your data.
Through emails and text messages, Netflix scammers send requests to hand over passwords and credit card details under the guise of fixing some account issue. But many Netflix scams will take it a step further and threaten you to give up your personal information. They will usually threaten to close or suspend your Netflix account if you don’t comply.
Scammers also attach a deadline to these demands to make matters worse and add a sense of urgency.
Saving money and having access to Netflix’s premium features all for the price of free. Who doesn’t want a deal? These types of Netflix scams offer a “more bang for your buck” incentive to potential customers. But Netflix does not offer free trials in America.
Scammers often count on people not knowing this information. Any unassuming individual would think they are really signing up for a free trial and hand their financial information right over to the scammer. With this information, the scammer can steal money right from your credit or debit card account. By the time you notice something is wrong, it could be too late.
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.
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.
You should report phishing attacks to Netflix to keep your private information secure and do your due diligence to have software that protects your digital devices from being attacked as well.
Netflix advises you to send any suspicious emails to [email protected]. After forwarding the scam email or text message to Netflix, then you should erase it from your inbox.
If you clicked a link or a button and gave some of your personal information away, you should change your account password and notify your bank as soon as possible.
When choosing a payment method for a monthly subscription to Netflix, it might be best for you to use PayPal instead of a debit or a credit card. Although traditional banks have made leaps and bounds in their evolution of financial security, PayPal provides state-of-the-art protection and an extra layer of security for your money.
However, this may not be an option for you since paying for your Netflix subscription by PayPal isn’t accepted in all regions.
Other safety steps include:
That Netflix email may seem genuine, but be sure to look for any red flags of a scam so you don't fall victim to identity theft.
Netflix has never offered a free subscription for an entire year. If you receive this offer from "Netflix," it's a scam.
If you receive a text message from your cell phone provider containing a link to a "little gift," don't click on it—it's a scam!
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