IDAHO — Between the winter weather and COVID-19, many people are spending a lot more time at home. That's led to an increase in the popularity of streaming services, like Netflix or Hulu.
Unfortunately, with that popularity comes new scams to keep an eye on. The Better Business Bureau says its Scam Tracker has received reports of a text message conning would-be watchers with "free" Netflix for a year.
The scam begins with a message that reads “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.” This sounds great but if you click, you’ll be taken to a website to fill out your personal information and add a payment method.
BBB says the website you're taken to is actually fraudulent, and if you sign up, you'll have handed over your personal information to a scammer. That includes payment information which means you could be charged for services you'll never receive.
One victim told the BBB Scam Tracker that scammers charged their credit card repeatedly – even after they asked for a refund. The victim reported scammers told them no other money would be taken out of their account, but a week later, they took $39.99. The victim called for a refund and was told three days at first. Then, after three days, the victim called back and was told 7-10 business days, but the refund never came.
Many legitimate businesses are using text messages to communicate with customers so scammers have created their own SMS cons, often called "smishing" or SMS phishing.
If you receive one of these messages, remember to proceed with caution. Don't believe every text you get. If you do think there is an issue or are interested in a deal, go right to the company’s website to find out more, and never click on the links in the text.
Ignore instructions to text “STOP” or “NO.” Even if you realize the message is a scam, don’t text back for any reason. Scammers may want you to text back to verify that your phone number is an active one. Instead, simply block the number so you won’t receive messages from it in the future.
Finally, change your password. Even if you don’t fall for this scam, Netflix advises its customers to change their password if they’ve been targeted.
For more tips on protecting your money and personal information, click here.