There is a new and dangerous Netflix scam which lets hackers steal your money
There are some online scams that are so obviously fraudulent that they've become cliches. Everyone knows by now to ignore emails from Nigerian princes and that you probably don't have a long-lost great uncle who left millions to you in his will. It got to a point where it was remarkably easy to browse the internet without being roped into anything, but things have changed in recent years.
Given this is how they make money, scammers were bound to at least try and adapt to the times. Now, the idea is not only to reach a large amount of people, but convince them that you are genuinely contacting them on behalf of another company - hoping that the target of the scam uses a particular service.
And there's few services used as commonly as Netflix.
The United States Federal Trade Commission recently issued a warning for people to look out for fake emails from Netflix. This phishing scam looks to steal users' personal details and bank information by pretending to be the streaming service and requesting your information. In the post on the FTC's website, they explain what they mean by 'phishing':
"Phishing is when someone uses fake emails or texts to get you to share valuable personal information – like account numbers, social security numbers, or your login IDs and passwords.
"Scammers use your information to steal your money, your identity, or both. They also use phishing emails to get access to your computer or network. If you click on a link, they can install ransomware or other programs that can lock you out of your data."
This latest phishing attempt uses a convincing email from Netflix which claims that your account has been put on hold, as they are "having some trouble with your current billing information". If you end up clicking the link, it will take you to a page where you can input your payment details - at which point it will be delivered to the scam artists.
The FTC made a number of recommendations, chief of which is to be sure that you contact any company you've received correspondence from on their official customer service contact details, rather than any provided on a possibly-fraudulent email. On top of this, they suggested some things to look out for:
"While some phishing emails look completely legit, bad grammar and spelling can tip you off to phishing. Other clues: Your name is missing, or you don’t even have an account with the company.
"In the Netflix example, the scammer used the British spelling of “Center” (Centre) and used the greeting, “Hi Dear.” Listing only an international phone number for a US.-based company is also suspicious."
Victims of phishing can end up giving away information such as social security numbers, login IDs and passwords, and bank details. As well as putting your money at stake, you can also provide access to your computer if they install ransomware or other programs via a phishing link.
So, even if you're convinced by an email like this, it's worth triple-checking that everything is legitimate just in case.