Warning over 'Free Netflix' scam text – do NOT click on this message
SCAM texts offering "free Netflix" are being used by hackers to lure unsuspecting victims onto dodgy websites, an expert has warned.
The messages, sent by social media, SMS or WhatsApp, are offering recipients a "free pass" for Netflix to keep you entertained while on lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic.
It's thought that cyber crooks are using the texts to hack into your phone or scam you into handing over your personal details.
One hoax on WhatsApp was uncovered this week by cyber security buff Graham Cluley.
Writing in a blog on security site BitDefender, he explained how hackers trick their victims by creating a false sense of urgency.
"The messages, which have been seen spread across social networking sites and via WhatsApp, urge recipients to act quickly to secure their free pass," Graham wrote.
The message encourages users to click on a link to get hold of a "Free Pass" to Netflix.
The link looks like it will take you to an official Netflix website, but the phoney page is actually operated by hackers.
"The scams point unsuspecting users to a website called netflix-usa[dot]net," Graham wrote.
"The domain, registered by an opportunistic scammer just six days ago, does not belong to the real Netflix.
He added: "Users eager to take up what they believe to be a free offer might be tempted to click on the link, and fooled by the look-and-feel of the website."
The website asks you a few questions about how you're dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, before telling them they have "won".
You're then encouraged to send on the scam message to ten people in your contact list in order to access the "free pass".
"Of course, there is no free pass for Netflix," Graham said. All you have done is forward the scam onto others in your friend group, potentially exposing them to risk at the hands of scammers."
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He added that the motives of the scammers are not clear.
It's possible they could trick recipients into handing over their personal information.
Scammers may also attempt to send victims malicious code that the attackers can use to spy on users or steal their bank details.
Another, similar scam unearthed by Tom'sGuide is sent via SMS and offers three free months of Netflix's pricey Premium tier.
How to avoid a phishing scam
Firstly, you should be thorough when checking who an email or message is from.
Even if it looks official you should double check the message and look for any spelling mistakes or slight abnormalities in the sender's phone number or email address.
Never feel pressurised into opening an attachment and avoid clicking the phrase "enable content".
You should always be wary of links in texts and emails.
If you're certain a message you have received is a scam then delete it.
In other news, a scam email offering "Coronavirus safety measures" hit inboxes earlier this month.
Invitations to hundreds of thousands of supposedly private WhatsApp chats have been published online.
And, Android users have been warned that some hugely popular apps on the Google Play Store could put them at risk.
Have you ever received a scam message? If so, let us know in the comments…
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