Why Do Scammers Want Your Netflix Account?
Financial gain, identity theft, or gathering personal information could all be reasons why scammers barrel for your Netflix account information.
As of the fourth quarter of 2022, Netflix had over 231 million paid subscribers around the world [*]. This ever-expanding user base and its seething mass of personal information make Netflix a pliable target.
For Amber Torres, it was the unusual, look-alike Netflix URL that gave away an otherwise flawless smishing scam [*]. An unprompted text message claimed that Netflix couldn't process her payment. The message also included a URL that misled Amber into re-entering her username and password on a fake login page.
Only upon clicking through to the next page did she notice the untypical domain address and foreign phone number. While similar phishing scams make up the lion’s share of all Netflix-related scams today, there are other ways that you could be caught off guard.
How Do Netflix Scams Work? (12 Examples)
Most Netflix phishing scams begin with suspicious emails that take you to spoofed websites. The novelty lies in calls to action (CTAs) that pepper these emails. Here are a few examples.
- Fake subscription expiry emails
- Gift card redemption email prompts
- Account suspension emails
- Bogus surveys
- Text message scams
- Netflix Tagger job scams
- Unusual login attempt emails
- Account security alerts
- Smart TV hacks
- Malicious browser extensions
- Incorrect billing information
- Netflix rewards and free subscriptions
1. Fake subscription expiry emails
This scam involves fraudulent emails that appear to come from Netflix. They claim that your subscription is about to expire and urge you to renew or update your payment information.
These emails look legitimate — featuring the Netflix logo — and even mimic genuine Netflix email templates.
If you click on the “Restart Membership” button, you’ll be directed to a fake website. The website will then elicit your Netflix login credentials or credit card numbers. The information is harvested by scammers and used to commit follow-on financial fraud — or worse, identity theft.
2. Gift card redemption email prompts
You may receive an email out of the blue that contains a link to a short survey. These unsolicited emails peddle free gift cards in return for your responses. The email subject line, copy, and buttons are all carefully crafted to make you click on a phishing link.
In reality, the button takes you to a fake Netflix page that records your entries for scammers.
3. Account suspension emails
In this email phishing scam, Netflix imposters notify you that your account has been suspended. The message contrives a problem with your billing information and includes a link to validate or renew the account.
Here’s another example, but with a personal touch, using the headline: “We’re sad to see you go.”
True to the narrative, this call to action also directs you to a Netflix look-alike website designed to steal your data or money. As you can see, these emails bear unsettling resemblances to actual Netflix communications and could easily pass for legitimate emails.
4. Bogus surveys
Another new phishing scam dangles free Netflix subscriptions in front of unsuspecting victims. You may receive a text message or email encouraging you to fill out a survey.
The link in the message will stealthily lead you to a page fronting as a survey asking for your personal and payment information.
5. Text message scams
Smishing is a variant of phishing that wields text messages instead of emails. Much like phishing, these fraudulent text messages induce recipients to click on malicious links.
You may receive bogus Netflix texts that alert you about supposed suspicious logins or account suspension. If you oblige and click on the embedded link, you’ll be directed to a phony login page.
6. Netflix Tagger job scams
A Netflix Tagger was a once-official Netflix job title that took off in 2015 [*]. These part-time hires were required to have voracious appetites for Netflix content in order to best categorize it for users.
While this role may now be dubbed as a taxonomy strategist, a related scam still goes by the former name. Scammers lure unknowing job seekers into their trap by promising easy and well-paid jobs.
- Scammers create fake employment postings on job boards or social media sites. The posts cite detailed descriptions, requirements, and competitive salaries.
- They may also send out phishing emails claiming to be recruiters from Netflix. The email, as usual, will ask you to click on a link or open an attachment. Malware or ransomware can be disguised as official documents that you need to view, download, or print.
- Once you engage with the scammers, they may even go as far as provide you with a fake application form. The form will be punctuated by fields that request your name, Social Security number (SSN), bank account details, and more.
- In other instances, you may even be asked to make payments for background checks, training material, or software before you can “start work.”
7. Unusual login attempt emails
Fraudsters want you to act quickly, impulsively, and without thinking. They commonly use scare tactics and make imperious demands to create mounting urgency.
This Netflix scam announces an account breach using phrases like “unusual account activity” or “unauthorized login attempt.” The insidious con ushers recipients to a spoofed page that harvests personal information.
8. Account security alerts
Jostling users with account security emails is another type of deceptive Netflix email scam. Posing as Netflix support or security team personnel, scammers may claim that they can’t verify your account information. These emails also deliver the looming threat of account deletion if you fail to take action within 24 hours.
These attacks are often elaborate, with convincing intricacies that include functioning CAPTCHA pages hosted on secure domains. You may even be redirected to the real Netflix homepage after you surrender your information on the phony site.
9. Smart TV hacks
Another scam that targets Netflix users involves smart TV hacks. Cybercriminals can breach your home network — or use phishing, malware, and remote access to commandeer your TV.
According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), an influx of recent reports indicate that victims have been targeted with malicious pop-ups [*]. These pop-ups may flag false errors with your device or streaming app, and can elicit phone calls to a specific number.
On the other end are scammers posing as customer support representatives poised to wrest your credit or debit card numbers, or worse — remote access to your television. Your compromised TV can then be a gateway to any device on the shared network.
While unlikely, hacked streaming devices such as Amazon Fire TVs or Apple TVs could also jeopardize the security of your login credentials and credit card details.
10. Malicious browser extensions
McAfee Labs recently found imposter Netflix Chrome extensions that duped nearly 100,000 users before the plug-ins were removed from the Chrome Web Store [*].
One extension, called “Netflix Party,” mimicked the original Netflix Party extension — which lets you watch Netflix with friends and family in real-time. This hostile extension, however, redirected users to fake login pages that exfiltrated personal information.
11. Incorrect billing information
One of the most common Netflix scams alerts you about supposed billing information errors. Such email notifications may claim that your account is on hold because Netflix is “having some trouble with your current billing information.”
The email then invites you to click on a link to update your account. Once you click on the link, you’re directed to a fake website that records your information.
12. Netflix rewards and free subscriptions
Cybercriminals in this scam lead you to a fake Netflix survey page in exchange for the promise of exclusive rewards or free Netflix subscriptions.
This scam propagates through email, social media, and text messages; scammers try to gain your trust so that you willingly turn over your information.
In some cases, victims are even asked to share the survey with friends and family to “unlock” rewards, which further spreads the scam.
How Can You Tell If an Email Is Really From Netflix?
Netflix scams can take many forms and aren’t limited to emails. To protect yourself against these scams, here’s what to know about legitimate communications from Netflix.
- Official emails from Netflix should always come from an address ending in “@netflix.com.” Be wary of any emails from other domains or those with slight variations such as “@netflix.support.com.” Mangled grammar could also be a sign of a scam.
- Authentic Netflix emails only include links to the official Netflix website or related pages. If you receive a password reset email, confirm that it falls under one of these prompts by Netflix.
Account security notifications
- Netflix has a system that identifies weak passwords and encourages users to create stronger ones. This improves account security and makes it harder for hackers to access accounts using brute force methods.
- If you forget your password, Netflix has both email and SMS verification to recover accounts. Account recovery using billing information is also available in some regions.
- In the event of data breaches at other companies, phishing attacks, suspicious account behavior, or malware attacks, Netflix can reset your passwords to prevent unauthorized access.
- Netflix also actively monitors user accounts for suspicious login behavior or locations. The company will prompt you to reset your password via email or SMS should there be a new sign-in using an unfamiliar IP address.
- To protect user data, Netflix verifies the identity of non-account holders who request personal information. Only authorized individuals will have access to information surrounding membership and billing.
Gift cards, surveys, and exclusive access alerts
- If you've been selected for the Netflix Preview Club, you’ll receive an invite-only email offer. You’ll be asked to provide some personal information after clicking on the link — but you will never be asked for payment information.
- Netflix Games is a free service that has no ads, in-app purchases, or add-on fees. The brand will not request personal or payment information for access.
- Netflix recommends that you redeem any gift cards at “netflix.com/redeem.” This way, it’s less likely that you’ll fall for a scam related to gift card redemption.
- On occasion, Netflix sends optional customer survey emails using trusted third-party providers. These emails may be sent from “firstname.lastname@example.org” or “email@example.com.”
Here’s what Netflix does not do:
- Request personal information in texts or emails: Companies like Netflix never request sensitive personal information — such as credit or debit card numbers, bank account details, or passwords — via texts or emails.
- Ask for payments via third-party vendors: Genuine communications from Netflix will never direct users to make payments through third-party vendors such as PayPal. You should only make payments through the official Netflix website or app in order to ensure secure transactions.
- Display pop-ups or new tabs to users: Netflix doesn’t open pop-ups or new tabs that could be perceived as intrusive or suspicious. All interactions are designed to take place within the main Netflix website or app.
- Pressure users with time-sensitive demands: Fake emails may use urgent or threatening language to pressure you into taking immediate action. A common ploy is to claim that an offer is limited or exclusive and that you have to act fast or else you will “miss out.”
- Use generalized salutations: Netflix will never address you with generic terms like "dear" or "customer" in any SMS, email, or other type of communication.
- Send attachments. Netflix will not ask you to open an attachment or install anything onto your device.
To Keep Your Netflix Account Secure, Do This:
Now that you've seen how Netflix communicates, here's how you can keep your account safe.
1. Never click on suspicious-looking links
Exercise caution when you receive text messages or emails containing links, especially if they are from unknown sources. Look for red flags such as poor grammar, a sense of urgency, or off-brand design. If you're unsure, go directly to the Netflix website or app and log in from there to access notifications.
2. Use strong, unique passwords
Create a strong and unique password for your Netflix account to prevent unauthorized access. Avoid easily guessable information such as names or birthdays. To manage these complex passwords, use a secure password manager like the one included in every Aura plan.
3. Double-check the sender email address
Attackers use authentic-looking email addresses to trick you into thinking they're from legitimate sources.
If you receive an email claiming to be from Netflix, verify the sender's email address before clicking on any links. Hover over the sender’s display name to see the email address. The only two acceptable email addresses should end in either “@netflix.com” or “@mailer.netflix.com.”
Never share any personal information — such as your password, email address, or payment details — with anyone claiming to be a Netflix representative.
4. Keep your security software up to date
Keep your devices updated with a reputable antivirus software program. This can prevent malware and other threats from breaching your Netflix account. In general, software updates nestle security patches for vulnerabilities that hackers are known to exploit.
5. Review all devices with access to your Netflix account
Regularly review the devices connected to your Netflix account by visiting your account settings. Look for any unfamiliar devices or unusual activity. If anything seems awry, sign out of the device from your account and immediately change your password.
6. Update your account information
Check your Netflix account settings to make sure your password recovery phone number is up to date. If you lose your password or need to recover your account due to security reasons, you'll be able to access your account more easily.
7. Report potential security vulnerabilities
If you come across any potential security vulnerabilities or phishing attempts related to Netflix, report them right away. Netflix also has a bug bounty program for security researchers to report issues.
Did You Click on a Phishing Link? Follow These Steps
If you’ve downloaded a corrupt attachment or entered your information on a suspicious web page, take the following actions.
- Disconnect from the internet. Malware authors use command-and-control (C&C) servers to take over malware-infected devices. Immediately disconnect your device from the internet to prevent any further communication with the attacker’s server.
- Contact Netflix customer support. Report all phishing emails and suspicious text messages to “firstname.lastname@example.org” or via “help.netflix.com/contactus.”
- Change your Netflix password. Create a password that’s different from what you use for other websites. Use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters. Better yet, use a password manager to generate and store unique passwords for all of your accounts.
- Look for unauthorized charges on your Netflix account. Pay attention to your payment settings, linked cards, and phone numbers. If you suspect that someone is using your payment information for a Netflix account, contact the company without delay.
- Sign out of all devices. Remove every device connected to your account. Then sign in again with your new password on any devices that you want to use.
- Ensure that your email is secure. Use Aura’s Dark Web scanner and review third-party data breach checks to see if your email address has been leaked online. Should any other accounts use the same email address, update those passwords, too.
- Review your bank account. Check for any recent unfamiliar purchases and make a note of errant transactions. Notify your bank or credit card company if you spot any fraudulent entries.
- Check for phone-based attacks. Ensure that you’re not the victim of a SIM swap. Set up a SIM lock and report a smishing attack to your provider. All major U.S. carriers accept reports about spam text messages via 7726 (SPAM) [*].
- Monitor your accounts. Scammers can use your email address for follow-on fraud such as identity theft. Sign up for credit and fraud monitoring to surveil your credit reports for unlawful changes.
Wondering How Scammers Found Your Email Address? Aura Can Help
Scammers may have gotten your email address from a recent data breach, or from third-party sources such as data brokers. You can avoid Netflix-related scams by knowing how cybercriminals may make an assault on your account.
To further protect yourself from these phishing scams, you may also want to enable email filters to block unknown senders and routinely check your Netflix account for unauthorized activities.
Managing your online presence can quickly become a litany of time-consuming steps. With Aura, you have 24/7 access to a team of U.S.-based Fraud Resolution Specialists and up to $5 million in insurance coverage for eligible losses due to identity theft.
Not just that, Aura’s powerful suite of easy-to-use security tools can protect your identity online and help keep your whole family safe.