It's an old scam, with an updated hook. With millions of consumers now subscribing to Netflix, scammers are playing the odds to get access to credit cards.
The scam works like this: millions of spam emails go out informing the recipient that the credit card used to pay for their Netflix subscription has expired. For all appearances, the email looks like it is from the video provider.
Those who don't have a Netflix account disregard it. But those who do subscribe to the service might think it is legitimate. The email contains a link and tells recipients to click on it to update their billing information.
Those who do, go -- not to Netflix -- but to a site that looks like the video provider's site, but one operated by the scammer. Any billing information they enter goes straight to the scammer.
"This is an example of the types of phishing scams our office sees on a regular basis," said Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood. "Consumers are urged not to comply with this or similar email requests and to use caution when opening emails or downloading documents from unfamiliar sources. Make it a practice to never respond to emails or pop-ups that ask for your personal or financial information."
Phishing is the term used for computer-related scams that use email, pop-up messages or cell phone text messages to deceive the consumer into revealing their credit card numbers, bank or credit union account numbers, social security numbers, passwords or other personal information. Scammers will often impersonate legitimate companies, banks, credit unions and other financial institutions in hopes that consumers will fall for the scam and provide their personal information and account numbers. A few years ago, scammers often impersonated Paypal for their phishing scams.
Here's some good advice for avoiding these online traps:
- Never reply to an email, pop-up, telephone or text message that asks for personal or financial information. Legitimate companies will not ask for this information.
- Always contact the organization using a telephone number you know to be correct if you are concerned about your account. Do not call or text the number left in the message, and never follow an Internet link to a site.
- Never email personal or financial information. Review credit card and bank statements as soon as you receive them to determine whether there are any unauthorized charges
- Always keep your anti-virus software up to date. In addition, use a firewall, which helps to make you invisible on the Internet and blocks communication from unauthorized sources.
- Be cautious about opening attachments or downloading files from emails you receive, regardless of the sender.