Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic, the online community has seen a surge of audience, especially the streaming platforms like Netflix. According to Forbes, Netflix saw 1.54 million new global subscribers in the second quarter of 2020. Unfortunately, a certain rise also came in online scams and frauds.
The scammers came up with ways to trick online users into giving their credit card information. At this point, we cannot stop the scammers, but we can get educated. This is why we share with you the Netflix scams and how to avoid them.
This guide will include some of the lessons learned from past mistakes and remedies to dodge them. One best way to do so is to have a Netflix specialized VPN that secures your streaming experience. Let’s start with understanding these Netflix scams as follows:
The “Free Pass” scam:
This is a type of scam that circulates on social media as a “free lottery” “fake prize/sweepstake”. In mid of 2020, it was reported that many users received an e-mail saying “Due to the Coronavirus pandemic worldwide, Netflix is giving some free passes for their platform during the period of isolation.
Run on the site because it will end quickly!” with a link attached under it. Many people clicked the link and are redirected to share it further with 10 of their friends to avail the free pass (even after doing so, it does not happen).
One major red flag in such e-mails is the grammar. In this e-mail, sentences like “Run on-site” are concerning, especially if it’s a global giant like Netflix. Another red flag is the sender’s e-mail and the link URL. Just because it has ‘Netflix’ written in it, does not mean it is legit. By sharing with friends, scammers collect your information and personal data.
The “Account suspension” scam
During the pandemic, it’d be a nightmare to have your Netflix account suspended. This is how the scammers play on the sense of urgency. In this type of scam, people receive an e-mail with the subject line “Your account suspension notification” and the body reads “We are unable to validate your billing information for the next billing month of your subscription. Therefore, we will suspend your membership within 48 hours. Update your account details to avoid cancellation”.
The call-to-action button is a big “update account now button”. This scam was also found active back in the 2019 “Game of Thrones” season 8 premiere. In this situation, the signs of a scam include punctuation, super urgent deadline, and e-mail address.
How to avoid Netflix scams?
If you have encountered any such e-mails or phishing messages, you need to act on them to make sure it doesn’t spread further. If we look at Netflix’s terms of service, we will find a lot of clauses that can help us detect the scam faster. Here are some of the precautionary points to note:
- Netflix does not use a 3rd party app for credit card payment. If you are being redirected to another website, back out ASAP
- Netflix never collects personal information through e-mail or text, not even the username, and password.
- Netflix URLs have Netflix.com at the start. If it is a long unrecognizable URL, it is risky to click.
- Awful grammar mistakes
- Sense of urgency that pushes you to start ASAP
In this list, some points can be a conflict of interest. For example, genuine e-mail marketers give a sense of urgency to their customers. It should not be mistaken as a scam. However, no e-mail marketers collect sensitive information on e-mail so we’re good.
Not only do we avoid this scam, but it is also our responsibility to report it to the proper authorities. Whenever you receive such an e-mail, take a screenshot, and forward it to email@example.com. That way, Netflix can act against such scammers and fraudsters.
There is a possibility that you may have clicked and done as the scammers wanted you to. There are some remedial things to do to survive.
- Change your Netflix password in case the scam URL asked for it
- Change your bank account password and details in case it has acquired your credit card information
- Log out from all signed-in devices and sign back in afterward with the new password
- Report the fraudulent activity to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Regularly update your Netflix password and make it complex (but not too complex that it becomes forgettable).
The online market will continue to see growth and it is our joint responsibility to make the internet a safer place. Lately, e-mail services like Google, Yahoo, Microsoft are making a stronger effort in reducing internet scams. Even so, we must stay educated on differentiating between a genuine e-mail and a scam. Hope this guide will help!