After you try to log in, it takes you to an error page that says “Account Suspended” on the page tab label. There you see an “Important Notice” that says there has been fraudulent activity on your account that has resulted in your account being suspended. They provide an 800 number for you to call to “regain” access to your account. There's also a long error code. This is the start of a highly sophisticated and aggressive phishing scam.
If you call the number, you'll get a scammer that purports to be a Netflix customer service representative. They will then tell you that your account has been hacked by someone outside of the United States and that they can help you upgrade your security and protect your sensitive data. The agent will send you to a URL and have you download a program called Netflix support. First of all, Netflix has no such product and second, it's a malware program that intends to steal your account logins, personal information and other data.
With this information in hand, scammers can commit identity theft and other sorts of fraud. The scammers will also request you to send a photo of your ID and credit card you used to set up the account to “prove your identity.” If you don't know how to do this or hesitate, the scammer may remotely turn on your web camera and ask you to show them just to prove your identity, but they can capture the images from there and then have the ammo they need to cheat you out of your hard-earned money. After they get your new and improved security software installed, they tell you it's a trial offer, and the fake customer service agent offers you a $50 coupon code to use as a discount on a permanent security license. They thank you for calling Netflix customer service and then ask you to hold the line. They then pass you off to another scammer who says they are from the security software firm. This person turns on a program and shows you what they say is stolen information and they tell you they are recovering your hacked information.
This is a very convincing scam. They tell you about the dangers of what happens when your computer is hacked. They talk about the dangers of people accessing your data – even as they are doing it themselves at that moment. They then tell you the charge for restoring your data and installing the software is $400 or so. They apply your “discount” that you were given and then ask you to show your credit card – they turn on your web cam to see it or ask you to snap a picture of the card and your ID. To see exactly how the scam plays out, watch the video above.
The bottom line is you should always check and make sure the URL of websites you use are typed in correctly and do not use links sent to you in questionable emails or from pop-ups. Fake sites to log in to Amazon and other sites where you use and store credit card information should always be treated with caution. Also be suspect of emails inviting you to click to restore accounts or update information. The sad truth is that it's hard to know who to trust but anytime you get a notice like this latest Netflix scam, you should Google the company name and scam before you take any other action. This can help you protect your secure data and prevent identity theft. If you believe you've been the victim of a scam, contact the Federal Trade Commission or North Carolina Department of Justice.