Q. I received an e-mail from Netflix saying my account has been suspended. I can still watch Netflix on my Smart TV, however. So is the suspension for later? And I don’t understand why my account would be suspended because all of my credit cards are fine and I’ve never missed a payment. — Emily, Portland, Oregon. 

Emily, listen to me very carefully. Don’t click on any link in that e-mail. In fact, delete the e-mail immediately so you won’t be tempted to click on it at any time. It’s part of a nationwide phishing scam designed to get your personal information. It is not from Netflix.

I know because I received a similar e-mail saying my subscription has been suspended, and that I need to update my personal information. But the joke on the scammers is that I don’t have an e-mail address registered with Netflix. Our family Netflix account uses my wife’s e-mail address.

So it’s obviously a trick to get me, and millions of others, to click on the link. And if we do, it will take us to a fraudulent site where we will be urged to input our private information such as a credit card number. And once we do that, it will go straight to the bad guys who will use it to go on a shopping spree.

Scammers have used some version of this ploy for years. But employing Netflix as the subject is particularly effective now because more than 60 million Americans subscribe to the service. If you send out a mass e-mail campaign, it’s likely to go to numerous Netflix subscribers, some of whom might fall for the trick.

Social media sites are overflowing with reports from subscribers, and non-subscribers, that they have recently received this bogus e-mail.

KDKA-TV, the CBS affiliate in Pittsburgh, has also reported on Netflix subscribers getting the e-mail there, and Netflix has posted a web page to alert customers to be wary of e-mail purporting to be from them.  Netflix says it will never ask subscribers for personal information via an e-mail or text.

“We will never ask for your personal information by texts or email. This includes: Credit or debit card numbers; Bank account details; Netflix passwords,” the page states.

If you receive an e-mail from Netflix, or anyone else, that requests personal information by clicking a link in that e-mail, don’t do it. Instead, go to that company’s web site directly and check the status of your account. That way, you can be sure you’re dealing with the actual company rather than a scammer.

And if you have already clicked on a bogus link, go to that company’s web site and change your password immediately.

Emily, hope that helps. Happy viewing, and stay safe!

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— Phillip Swann