In May 2022, Google and Twitter users reported being at the receiving end of a text message scam that claimed their Netflix accounts had been locked due to a membership payment being declined. One version of the message read: “ALRT: Your latest Netflix membership payment has been declined and account is locked.” This was nothing more than a dangerous phishing scam, and an old one at that. The goal for the scammers appeared to be to obtain login details and other personal information, all of which should be closely safeguarded by readers.
By email, a Netflix spokesperson wanted to make sure that readers know this scam doesn’t involve Netflix itself being hacked, but rather is simply an attempt at phishing.
These kinds of text messages include links that lead to websites that may look like the Netflix website, but in reality are fakes operated by scammers. We strongly advise against clicking the links or filling in any information.
If readers receive a text message like this and are unsure if it’s a scam, simply delete it without clicking any of the links. After it’s deleted, visit the official Netflix website (Netflix.com) and check to see if everything is in order on your account’s billing page.
Account ‘Locked’ or ‘On Hold’ Scam
Another text message that was shared in a tweet read as follows: “From: NETFLIX. MSG: We couldn’t process the May Netflix monthly payment and account is temporarily on hold. See the complete details on the attachment below.” (We corrected various spelling errors made by the scammers.)
A search of Twitter showed that this kind of scam also went around in previous years. For example, in November 2020, a user tweeted about receiving the following text message: “Your Netflix account will be locked because your payment was declined.” It also included a malicious link.
Back in 2019, yet another version of the same Netflix text message payment scam read as follows, also with a dangerous link: “Attention! We have tried multiple times to process your payment for your next billing cycle. Unfortunately, we are having issues with your payment method. Please correct any error before account suspension.”
‘Free 1-Year Subscription’ Netflix Scam
A similar text message scam that went around in the past also claimed that users could receive a free year of Netflix, all because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It read, “Due to the pandemic, Netflix is giving everyone a free 1-year subscription to help you stay at home. Get yours here.”
It says that Netflix “will never ask you to enter your personal information in a text or email.” According to the page, this includes credit or debit card numbers, bank account details, and Netflix passwords. “We will never request payment through a 3rd party vendor or website,” it added.
We reached out to Netflix to find out what, if any, kinds of text messages the company does perhaps send to users. By email, a spokesperson for the company said that, once users have opted in by adding a phone number to the account, they’ll receive messages “related to account recovery or 2-factor authentication codes” for any changes being made to the account, or for account verification.
@arksolvers. Twitter, 25 May 2022, https://twitter.com/arksolvers/status/1529634364866412544.
@HondoResists. Twitter, 26 Nov. 2020, https://twitter.com/hondoresists/status/1332161830387675137.
@HuffmanForNC. Twitter, 23 Jan. 2021, https://twitter.com/HuffmanForNC/status/1353182032554319873.
“Phishing or Suspicious Emails or Texts Claiming to Be from Netflix.” Netflix Help Center, https://help.netflix.com/en/node/65674.
@tonygood2. Twitter, 25 May 2022, https://twitter.com/tonygood2/status/1529574693497446402.
@vickybunnyangel. Twitter, 1 Dec. 2019, https://twitter.com/vickybunnyangel/status/1201347145183498240.