LOS ANGELES, Calif. — The Better Business Bureau is warning the public about a text message scam that promises free Netflix for a year.
The BBB says those who’ve fallen victim to the scam received texts that say something like, “Due to the pandemic, Netflix is offering everyone a free year of service to help you stay at home. Click the link to sign up.”
If you end up clicking the link that’s provided, you’ll be taken to a website to fill out your personal information and add a payment method, according to the BBB.
The thing is, the website isn’t run by Netflix and if you “sign up,” the BBB says you’ll have given your personal information to a scammer. And if you add payment information you may be charged for services that you’ll never receive.
One victim of this scam told the BBB that scammers charged their credit card repeatedly, even after they asked for a refund.
These types of cons involving texts have been called “smishing” scams, for SMS phishing. There are several ways you can avoid falling for them.
First, the BBB says not to believe every text you receive. As a general rule, experts say companies can’t send you texts unless you opt in to receive them. If you receive a message from a company you haven’t given permission to, proceed with caution.
Secondly, the BBB says to go straight to the source. If an offer seems strange or too good to be true, contact the company directly by looking up official contact information online. Speaking with customer service can help determine if texts are legit.
Third, take a close look at web addresses. If you click on the link in the text you received, examine the address carefully before taking any action to make sure you are visiting a company’s real website and not a look-alike.
Fourth, ignore instructions to text “STOP” or “NO.” Scammers may want you to text back to verify that your phone number is an active one. Instead, simply block the number so you won’t receive messages from it in the future.
Lastly, the BBB says to change your password. Even if you don’t fall for this scam, Netflix advises its customers to change their password if they’ve been targeted.