From the Better Business Bureau

Between the winter weather and COVID-19, most people are spending a lot of time at home. Streaming services, such as Netflix or Hulu, are more popular than ever. BBB Scam Tracker has gotten numerous reports of a text message con tricking would-be watchers with “free” Netflix for a year.

How the Scam Works

You receive a text message that says something like this: “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.” Sounds great, right? If you click, you’ll be taken to a website to fill out your personal information and add a payment method.

However, the website is not run by Netflix! If you “sign up,” you’ll have given your personal information to a scammer. If you add payment information, you may be charged for services that you’ll never receive because scammer doesn’t have anything to do with Netflix.

One victim told BBB Scam Tracker that scammers charged their credit card repeatedly – even after they asked for a refund. “[The scammers] said no other money would be taken out of my account again,” the victim reported. “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.”

Protect yourself from text message scams

Don’t believe every text you receive. As a general rule, companies can’t send you text messages unless you opt-in to receive them. If you receive a text message from a company you haven’t given permission to contact you in this way, proceed with caution.

Go straight to the source. If an offer seems strange, or too good to be true, contact the company directly by looking up their official contact information online. Call or email customer service to find out if the text message you received is legitimate.

Ignore instructions to text “STOP” or “NO.” Even if you realize the message is a scam, don’t text back. Replying helps scammers verify that your phone number is active.

For More Information

Learn more about smishing scams on BBB.org. Con artists are sending phony texts pretending to be banking alerts, “mandatory” COVID-19 tests, and package delivery problems.

If you’ve received text messages from scammers, report your experience to BBB Scam Tracker. Your report can help raise consumer awareness about this common scam tactic.

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