Text message scams are on the rise. If you’ve received an SMS message threatening to suspend your Netflix account for lack of payment, that’s a scam. Like the FedEx text message scam, this is a form of SMS-based phishing.
How the Netflix Scam Works
This scam is pretty simple. You receive a text message claiming to be from Netflix and threatening to suspend your account. It says something like, “We will suspend your Netflix account today because you failed to pay,” along with a link.
If you tap the link, you might end up on a fake Netflix page that asks for your Netflix username and password or your credit card number.
The scammer is impersonating Netflix to steal your personal information. The scammer likely doesn’t know whether you’re a Netflix subscriber or not, but Netflix is so popular that there’s a good chance you are.
Netflix won’t ever ask you for personal information via text message or email. You should only modify your Netflix billing information on Netflix’s official website at netflix.com.
How to Protect Yourself
Like with phishing emails, there’s no way to avoid phishing text messages completely. Ignore the text message, do not open the link inside it, and don’t send any personal information in response. You can block the scammer’s number on an iPhone or Android phone to ensure you won’t see it again.
You can also install apps that will automatically block SMS messages and phone calls from suspected phishing numbers. This is particularly useful if you’re receiving a lot of spammy SMS messages. Here’s how to protect yourself from SMS-based phishing attacks, also known as “smishing.”
Want to help catch the phisher? Netflix asks that you forward a copy of the text message or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If You’ve Given Information to the Scammer
I’ve you’ve already tapped the link in the scam text message and provided personal information, you should take actions to protect yourself.
For example, if you entered your Netflix username and password, you should go to Netflix’s website and change your password. You should change your password on any other sites you use the same password on, too. It’s always a bad idea to reuse passwords. The attacker could try your email and password on other websites to gain access to your accounts.
If you’ve provided payment information like a credit card number, debit card number, or bank account information, you should contact your bank or other financial institution.
Netflix recommends you contact its customer service If you think someone else has gained access to your Netflix account and taken it over.