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New Netflix scam offers free streaming for a year

The scheme is really just a way to steal your credit card information

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Photo (c) krisanapong detraphiphat - Getty Images
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spawned many new scams, and one of the latest involves Netflix. Scammers are sending out texts offering free Netflix service for a year.

“Due to the pandemic, Netflix is offering everyone a free year of service to help you stay at home,” one of the messages says. “Click the link to sign up.”

People who click the link will be taken to a website made to look like a Netflix page. There, they will be asked to fill in some personal data including credit card information.

Wait a minute! Why does Netflix need a credit card to provide free service? The scammer who is operating the bogus site hopes you won’t think to ask that question and will instead provide the requested information, focusing on all that free content you’re about to enjoy.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) says its BBB Scam Tracker says it has received an increasing number of reports of this scam. If a victim provides a credit card number they find several fraudulent charges on their account.

According to one recent victim, the scammer charged their card repeatedly – even after they asked for a refund.

“[The scammers] said no other money would be taken out of my account again,” the victim reported. “Then, about a week later, they took $39.99, and I called and asked for a refund. They told me three days at first. Then, after three days I called back, and they told me seven-10 business days. It’s been 10 business days. And now I have no refund.”

What to do

People who are victimized by this scam should contact the fraud department of their credit card company immediately and report it. In most cases, the disputed charge will be removed.

To avoid this scam in the first place, don’t click on any links. If you think the offer might be legitimate, contact the company directly to verify it.  

Consumers should also understand that scammers have used Netflix to launch their schemes in the past. In 2019, scammers sent out phishing emails warning that the recipient’s Netflix account was about to be suspended because the company couldn’t process payment information.

The victim was then directed to a bogus site and asked to enter payment card information.

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