As the Covid-19 pandemic began creeping across the world in January, the number of people subscribing to Netflix climbed, and by March the streaming giant had added almost 16 million new accounts to its subscriber base. This is twice the number of new users that it notched up in the final few months of 2019. In a sense, it's not so surprising given that the Netflix business is a near-perfect fit for populations that are suddenly housebound.

But canny hackers, with their ever-watchful eyes looking for opportunities, also latched onto this growth. A stream of Netflix themed phishing emails that asked recipients to update payment details were detected in early March. And in a sign of the voracious online times more than 700 fake websites mimicking Netflix and Disney+ signup pages were also detected in those early months.

Another phishing email has also recently surfaced detected by Armorblox.  However, this one has significantly upped its game in its attempts to appear authentic by including a CAPTCHA page with subtle Netflix branding background.

  • The email claims to come from Netflix Support, informing recipients of a billing problem due to a failure in verifying personal details.
  • To instill a sense of urgency, the email claims that the recipient's subscription will be canceled if they don't update their details within 24 hours.
  • If the link within the email is clicked they are taken through to a CAPTCHA page which creates the impression the email is genuine. Once the CAPTCHA code is completed, a genuine-looking Netflix page appears requesting login details.
  • This leads to another page asking for the billing address and then another page asking for payment card information. If these details are entered the victim is then redirected to the genuine Netflix home page and none the wiser that they have been scammed.
Common scams

The CAPTCHA code email is relatively sophisticated; less considered phishing emails claiming to be from Netflix are far more common. Another recently detected Netflix email scam says: “Your account is on hold because of a problem with your last payment.”

It then goes on to say:

Netflix was unable to collect a payment because of one of the following:
  • The method of payment on file is no longer valid or has expired.
  • The credit card zip code on your Netflix account does not match the one listed with your bank.
How to tell if an email from Netflix is genuine

Netflix will never ask for your personal information via email. This includes:
  • Credit card number
  • Bank account details
  • Netflix password
  • Furthermore, Netflix will never request payments via a third-party vendor or website.
What to do if you have provided information in an email
  • Change your Netflix password to a new, strong, and unique one.
  • Update your password on any websites where you use the same email and password combination.
  • Contact your bank or payment card provider if you entered any payment information because your account may have been compromised.
Keeping your online information safe
  • Be careful anytime you get an email or text requesting personal information.
  • Hover over any links before you click on them to make sure they lead where they are supposed to lead.
  • Don't click the link when in doubt,  go directly to the company website instead.
  • Check the sender’s address to see if it looks legitimate.
  • Never provide personal or financially sensitive information through email.
  • Install good antimalware software to help guard your devices and personal information.

A further robust step you can take is to protect all of your identity information such as passwords and payment card numbers. Alongside award-winning antimalware protection, BullGuard Premium Protection provides rigorous identity safeguards.

You simply enter the information you want to protect such as payment card numbers, passwords, phone numbers, or anything else. Using a unique algorithm BullGuard Premium Protection scans the internet and thousands of dark web forums 24/7 looking for the data you are safeguarding.

Should your information be detected, for instance, passwords and banking details stolen in a Netflix phishing email scam and for sale on a hacker’s forum, you will receive immediate notification. This enables you to take protective steps before your information is exploited by fraudsters.