Wisconsin Better Business Bureau
Press Release

BBB Scam Alert: Free Netflix for a year? Think twice before you click

 

By - Jan 19th, 2021 07:07 am

Milwaukee, Wis. – Between the winter weather and COVID-19, most people are spending a lot of time at home. Streaming services, such as Netflix or Hulu, are more popular than ever. Watch out for scams cashing in on this opportunity. BBB Scam Tracker has received numerous reports of a text message con tricking would-be watchers with “free” Netflix for a year.

How the Scam Works

You receive a text message that says something like this: “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.” Sounds great, right? If you click, you’ll be taken to a website to fill out your personal information and add a payment method.

However, the website is not run by Netflix! If you “sign up,” you’ll have given your personal information to a scammer. If you add payment information, you may be charged for services that you’ll never receive because the scammer doesn’t have anything to do with Netflix.

One victim told BBB Scam Tracker that scammers charged their credit 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 3 days at first. Then, after 3 days I called back, and they told me 7-10 business days. It’s been 10 business days. And now I have no refund.”

How to Avoid Text Message ScamsWith many legitimate businesses using text messages to communicate with customers, scammers have come up with their own SMS cons. These are often called “smishing” (for SMS phishing) scams.

  • Don’t believe every text you receive. As a general rule, companies can’t send you text messages unless you opt-in to receive them. If you receive a text message from a company you haven’t given permission to contact you in this way, proceed with caution.
  • Go straight to the source. If an offer seems strange, or too good to be true, contact the company directly by looking up their official contact information online. Call or email customer service to find out if the text message you received is legitimate.
  • Take a close look at web addresses. If you follow a link in a text message that you believe is legitimate, examine the web address carefully before you take any action to make sure you are visiting a company’s official website and not a look-alike.
  • 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.
  • 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. Click here for more tips from Netflix.

For More InformationLearn more about smishing scams on BBB.org. Con artists are sending phony texts pretending to be banking alerts, “mandatory” COVID-19 testing requirements, and package delivery problems.

If you’ve received text messages from scammers, report your experience to BBB.org/ScamTracker. Your report can help raise consumer awareness about this common scam tactic. For more about scams, go to BBB.org/ScamTips.

Netflix, Inc. and Hulu are both BBB Accredited Businesses.

For more information or further inquiries, contact the Wisconsin BBB at www.bbb.org/wisconsin, 414-847-6000 or 1-800-273-1002. Consumers also can find more information about how to protect themselves from scams by following the Wisconsin BBB on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2019, people turned to BBB more than 183 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.8 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Wisconsin which was founded in 1939 and serves the state of Wisconsin.

Mentioned in This Press Release

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