Netflix customers, beware: binge-watching all of September's bests isn't the only thing you have to watch out for right now. This email scam claiming to be Netflix is looking for your bank account information. Have you received what appears to be an email from Netflix lately? Take extra caution — here's what you need to know.
Emails being sent out are telling customers there's been a billing error and their account has been disabled, and that they need to update their payment details. According to the Guardian, the address they're coming from is email@example.com. Some emails direct you to a link for a (fake) website where you will be prompted to enter your banking information. Others are asking for customers to respond with their updated payment information via email. Hopefully it goes without saying, but you should not click or otherwise send any sensitive information to "Netflix," should you receive an email that looks like this. Netflix itself confirms they will never ask for this kind of information to be sent over email. That includes your credit or debit card number, social security number, and even your account password. If you receive an email and something looks fishy to you, it probably is.
This is what you should be on the lookout for (or something similar):
What if the email is legitimate and there really is an issue? You should still play it safe — you can always check to make sure all of your information is current by signing into your Netflix account directly, as opposed to going through an email that may or may not be dangerous.
Netflix does send emails with a link to their website, and you can confirm the link by hovering your cursor over it to check the URL (usually at the bottom of your browser) before clicking on it. Remember: a link can contain "Netflix" (or anything else) and still be a scam. For instance, scammy URLs sometimes contain a lot of dashes (example: update-Netflix-payment-information.com) or have strange spellings (example: Netf1ix). Even though you see the name, you should proceed with caution.
If you receive an email that looks concerning, you should report it to Netflix's help center immediately.
Phishing is getting worse: more abundant and more sophisticated. That means scammers are coming up with new and creative ways to trick you. In 2016, the number of spam emails increased four times over, according to the IBM Threat Intelligence Index. Spam isn't just annoying, either — it's one of the most common ways people get spammed.
While we'd like to assume that a company as successful and robust as Netflix would be immune to these weaknesses, truthfully, nobody is totally immune. Gmail, Facebook, TurboTax, and Amazon have also dealt with phishing and scamming; and the IRS even had to start issuing warnings when a W-2 related phishing scam made an appearance, ultimately affecting tens of thousands of people. Globally, more than 156 million phishing emails are sent every day. Imagine the astronomical amount of private information and money stolen that equates to.
Aside from not clicking strange links or opening mysterious attachments in emails (another huge no-no), you should also refrain from clicking linked pictures (those, too, could be risky), and be on the lookout for emails addressed to "sir" or "madam" (instead of your name) as well as emails with typos — two more signs of shady actions.
Also, be aware that phishing is becoming more common on mobile, where it's harder to do your homework because the address bar in many browsers is hidden, making it more challenging to spot a scam.
In the meantime, Netflixers, be extra careful with your email. If you need to make any updates, you will find them right on Netflix and won't need an email to update anything.