The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers that an alert promising “one year of Netflix for free” is a scam.
Between the COVID-19 pandemic and cooler temperatures, more and more people are staying home, which has afforded streaming services like Netflix and Hulu a surge in popularity. As scammers do, they constantly seek ways to twist their schemes in a way that target users of popular services.
Victims of this latest Netflix scam are contacted by email or text message from someone posing as Netflix. The messages use different wording to convey that “Due to the pandemic, Netflix is offering everyone a free year of service to help you stay at home. Click the link to sign up”.
Upon clicking on the link, victims are taken to a website to fill out their personal information and add a payment method. While the website uses the same style of the real Netflix website, the website is not owned by or affiliated with Netflix. Those who “sign up” have provided their personal information to a scammer. By adding a payment method, victims are charged for services they’ll never receive since the scammer is not affiliated with Netflix.
The BBB reports that one victim stated that scammers charged their credit card repeatedly, even after they asked for a refund. “[The scammers] said no other money would be taken out of my account again,” the victim reported. “Then, about a week later, they took $39.99, and I called and asked for a refund. They told me 3 days at first. Then, after 3 days I called back, and they told me 7-10 business days. It’s been 10 business days. And now I have no refund.”
How can I avoid falling victim to this Netflix scam?
Use protection any time you use the Internet. Browser protection blocks malicious websites, abusive browser extensions, and scams encountered online, including this new Netflix scam.
Don’t believe every text message or email you receive, especially if it sounds too good to be true. While some services have offered free services due to the pandemic, keep in mind that companies like Netflix could not survive without generating revenue for an entire year. As nice as it would be to have free service for a year, doing so would mean the end of Netflix as we know it.
Go straight to the source. If you suspect an offer might be real or if you aren’t sure, contact the company directly. Don’t use any links provided in the original offer you received. Instead, go directly to the main company website and locate the option to contact their support team to ask for more information about the offer. They’ll be able to let you know if the offer is legitimate or if it's a scam. They may also ask for more information about a scam attempt so that they can protect others from falling victim to the scam as well.from it in the future.
Change Your Password. Even if you didn’t fall for the scam. Netflix advises their customers to change their password any time they’re targeted. You can see other tips Netflix offers for those targeted by scam attempts here.