Netflix is the gold standard when it comes to movie and boxset streaming, and as scores of people are at home under lockdown the service has seen popularity surge. Recent stats show that as the COVID-19 crisis gripped nations across the globe Google searches for Netflix jumped up 142 per cent. New word-of-mouth hits such as Tiger King have given those stuck at home during these unprecedented times plenty to keep them entertained.
But this spike in Netflix popularity hasn’t gone unnoticed by scammers, with new research revealing an explosion in cybercrime directed at the streaming giant.
Cyber security firm BrandShield has warned that internet crooks are increasingly targeting users of streaming sites amid the coronavirus crisis.
Scams highlighted include setting up fake websites to trick people into thinking they’re buying a Netflix subscription.
But in fact they’re handing over their sensitive details to crooks and having their money stolen.
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Other cons BrandShield noted were cybercriminals trying to steal Netflix login details. The cyber security firm that since the beginning of 2020 some 639 fake domains which use the word Netflix have been registered.
However, in March alone 236 fake Netflix domains were set up.
BrandShield also noted that almost half (41 per cent) of these fake websites have a mail server which indicates phishing emails may also have been sent out.
Yoav Keren, the CEO of BrandShield, said: “As the world goes into lockdown, cybercriminals are capitalising on people spending more and more time online.
“Consumers of streaming websites are increasingly at risk of successful phishing attacks.
“We have seen an explosion in domain names featuring ‘Netflix’ as criminals are looking to catch consumers out and extract financial or personal records.
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“Governments must do more to educate the public about the risks they face, and how they can protect themselves.
“This problem is only going to get bigger as people spend more time transacting and interacting online.”
The news comes as last month Netflix users were put on alert about a scam WhatsApp message claiming free subscriptions for the service were being offered.
The fake alert said Netflix were offering “free passes” to help people keep entertained during the coronavirus crisis and provided a link.
But while the link featured the phrase Netflix in the URL it was all part of an elaborate phishing scam designed to steal sensitive information.
A message on the fake website which the link led to said: “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are giving away totally free access to our platform for the period of isolation, until the virus is contained.”
Visitors are asked to fill out a survey with personal information to claim the free pass and then share it with 10 other people.
Suffice to say, this is just a way to spread the scam even further.
And if you receive this message on WhatsApp or any other platforms you should immediately disregard it.
If you have been the target of a Netflix scam then you can report it to Action Fraud – click here to be directed to their website.
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