For a long time I have warned you that the popularity of Netflix, particularly during the Coronavirus pandemic, makes it a preferred subject for phishing emails and phishing text messages, which are referred to as smishing. Smishing is the name given to text messages that lure you into clicking on links or providing personal information in response to a text message from what appears to be a trusted source, such as a company with which you do business.
Recently I was contacted by Holland Cooke, a Scamicide reader and the host of the RT America show “The Big Picture” that he received a text message that read “Due to the pandemic, Netflix is giving everyone a free 1-year subscription to help you stay at home. Get yours here” and then it provided a link to click on to purportedly sign up for your free Netflix subscription. Clicking on the link would take you to an official appearing, but totally bogus Netflix website where you are prompted to provide personal information including credit card information in order to receive your “free” subscription. A red flag as to this being a scam is the request for credit card or debit card information if you are supposed to be signing up for a “free” year of Netflix. Once you have turned over that information to the scammer, you can expect within minutes that your credit card will be used for fraudulent purchases.
With the social isolation that has become the hallmark of the Coronavirus pandemic, many of us, myself included, have been watching a lot of Netflix programming and this has increased the motivation of scammers to set up many phony Netflix websites to which they lure people through emails and text messages to go to under the guise of a variety of phony reasons, such as needing to update your information or confirm information. Of course, the real purpose of these phony Netflix websites and the phishing emails and text messages sent to you is to lure you into going to these phony Netflix websites to trick you into providing your credit card information.
As I always say, “trust me, you can’t trust anyone.” You can never be truly sure when you receive an email seeking personal information such as your credit card number whether or not the email is a scam. The risk of clicking on a link or providing the requested information is just too high. Instead, if you think that the email might be legitimate, you should contact the company at a telephone number that you know is legitimate and find out whether or not the email or text message was a scam.
Netflix will never ask in an email or text message for any of your personal information so anytime you get an email or text message purportedly from Netflix asking for your credit card number, Social Security number or any other personal information, it is a scam. Here is a link to Netflix’s security page for information about staying secure in regard to your Netflix account. https://help.netflix.com/en/node/13243
For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.” Scamicide has been cited by the New York Times as one of three top sources for information about Coronavirus related scams.
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