Q. I got a text from Netflix saying I could get a one year free subscription because of the Coronavirus pandemic. I think this is cool, but I wonder if it’s legit. You never know these days. Do you know about this offer? Should I click on it to find out? — Gina, Newark.
Gina, don’t click on that link! The Better Business Bureau has issued a nationwide alert that it has received “numerous reports of a text message con tricking would-be watchers with ‘free’ Netflix for a year.”
The consumer watchdog says that if you click on the link, it takes you to a site where you are told to input your personal information, including your credit card number. However, the site has nothing to do with Netflix and chances are good that you’ll soon start seeing some phony charges on your credit card statement.
“One victim told (the BBB) that scammers charged their credit card repeatedly – even after they asked for a refund,” the organization says.
The BBB adds that the victim said the con artists assured him that “no other money would be taken out of my account again. 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.”
The consumer group says that if you receive a suspicious text message, you should go straight to the source by typing in its correct web site address. Don’t click on the link assuming that it will take you there. Open up a browser and do it yourself.
Another good tip: If the suspicious text message says to type ‘STOP’ or ‘NO” to prevent future text messages, don’t do it. It could be a device to verify that your phone number is active. By replying, the scammers will know that they can send more texts.
Finally, if you clicked on the text, or if you just think you are being targeted by a scammer, change your password on Netflix. There’s a possibility that someone has it so it’s time to change up.
Gina, hope that helps. Happy viewing, and stay safe (in more ways than one)!
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— Phillip Swann