A Netflix user has discovered a new scheme by scammers to get you to hand over your sensitive information so they can steal your identity. This one goes beyond ye olde Nigerian prince email scam and uses our trust of customer service reps against us.
This phishing scheme directs Netflix users to a fake login screen, and when users enter their name and password, a screen pops up saying there is a problem with their account, and they need to call someone to get it cleared up.
Unsuspecting users then call the number, which does NOT lead to a legit Netflix customer support center. Then they are asked to download “Netflix support software,” which is actually remote login software that gives the jerks complete access to the files on your computer. Things like stored passwords and banking information. Tax returns. Maybe your first pet’s name or the street you grew up on or your mother’s maiden name.
If the victim is really unfortunate, he or she might even be convinced to hand over copies of photo IDs or credit cards. Because it’s one thing not to trust a random email, but a real live person on the other end of the phone makes us more susceptible to believe it’s not a scheme.
So how do you avoid falling for the trap? There are some red flags to look for if you stumble across the fake site in a phishing email, pop-up window, or ad.
Always check the URL. You know that little address bar at the top of your Internet browser? It will usually include the brand name, but will also have some extra numbers or letters. If you didn’t get there directly from Netflix.com, you might be on a fake site.
Check the phone number. If there’s a problem with your account, go directly to the Netflix homepage and find the legit customer service number.
Never send pictures of your ID or credit cards over the Internet. There’s no reason anyone needs a copy of your driver’s license in order to fix your Netflix. Just don’t.
Don’t answer personal questions. If you feel like someone is asking inappropriate questions, they might be trying to get sensitive information out of you.
Don’t hand over control of your computer. If they can’t explain to you what to do over the phone and claim they need to get in there and see the problem in order to diagnose it, they’re lying.
Trust your gut. If you feel like something is off, go with that feeling. Hang up the phone. Check to make sure Netflix is still there. If there’s actually a problem, go to their main site and call the real Netflix support line. They’re there to help, not scam you.
Have you ever been the victim of identity theft?
Image via Brian Cantoni/Flickr