Entertainment Security

Beware These Netflix Email Phishing Scams

Philip Bates 26-10-2016

Netflix has rightly been lauded as bringing about a revolution in television consumption, emerging right now as arguably the market leader in streaming entertainment Netflix vs. Hulu vs. Amazon Prime: Which Should You Choose? It has been years since we've compared heavy-hitting streaming services, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. And with changes in pricing, content, quality, and interface, we thought it was time to revisit the topic. Read More .


Despite raising prices It Turns Out Netflix Was Right to Raise Prices Netflix has enjoyed a fantastic quarter. Which strongly suggests that its decision to raise prices for existing subscribers hasn't harmed the company in the slightest. Result! Read More during 2016 Q3, it gained 3.6 million new subscribers. It’s an incredible amount, perhaps driven by the popularity of the service’s original content 13 New Netflix Originals You'll Be Watching in 2016 Netflix has released a lot of original content -- including House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black, Narcos, and Master of None -- but 2016 is slated to be Netflix's most exciting year yet. Read More , including Daredevil, Stranger Things, and, most recently, Luke Cage.

But all those customers mean a big target for scammers. It doesn’t even matter if you’re a frequent streamer or not: you need to beware these fraudulent emails.

Account Suspension?

You might be surprised to find an email informing you that your Netflix account The Ultimate Netflix Guide: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Netflix This guide offers everything you need to know about using Netflix. Whether you're a new subscriber or an established fan of the best streaming service out there. Read More has been suspended. It’d be especially shocking if you don’t have Netflix 7 Reasons to Avoid Subscribing to Netflix We love online streaming, but is Netflix worth it? Here are the disadvantages of subscribing to Netflix and why you might skip it. Read More .

Whether you do have an account or not, this is certainly a smart scam: those who stream shows and movies every day will panic and click on the link in order to supposedly verify their identity. Anyone not using Netflix will be rightly troubled by the notion that someone else could be setting up an account in their name.

Suffice to say, clicking on the link is a very bad idea.


Right now, it’s mostly affecting folk in the USA, UK, and Western Europe. Hosting providers keep taking these malicious sites down — and typically quickly too — but cybercriminals are always in it for the long game, so will have set up further destinations. It’s a pretty simple phishing scam What Exactly Is Phishing & What Techniques Are Scammers Using? I’ve never been a fan of fishing, myself. This is mostly because of an early expedition where my cousin managed to catch two fish while I caught zip. Similar to real-life fishing, phishing scams aren’t... Read More ; that is, a trick to obtain personal information. In this case, that’s your Netflix password and maybe payment details too.

Personally-Identifiable Information (PII) is worth a fair amount Here's How Much Your Identity Could Be Worth on the Dark Web It's uncomfortable to think of yourself as a commodity, but all of your personal details, from name and address to bank account details, are worth something to online criminals. How much are you worth? Read More , especially when stolen en masse, so a scam email like this might also vacuum up details about your date of birth, citizenship, and phone number. Scammers could throw some ransomware into the mix A History of Ransomware: Where It Started & Where It's Going Ransomware dates from the mid-2000s and like many computer security threats, originated from Russia and eastern Europe before evolving to become an increasingly potent threat. But what does the future hold for ransomware? Read More too, just to really dominate your identity.

Of course, variations on the theme persist. You might not have received an email about suspending your account, but you may have got one about validating credit card information or other problems with your membership.

iTunes Scam

As we’ve established, you don’t need a Netflix subscription to be scammed. Just the threat/ promise of an account can cause victims to lose their minds and click on a link that’ll gobble up data. This email’s more specific than the previous spam message which wanted PII and payment details.


This one wants your Apple ID How To Change The Apple ID On Your iPod Touch/iPhone An Apple ID allows you to obtain apps, iTunes downloads and more, which is required to get the full mobile experience if you own an iPhone or iPod Touch. After all, how can you not?... Read More .

You might’ve heard this being called the “Netflix 1S Plan Scam” because this is the name of the subscription the recipient is supposed to have bought. It’s nonsense, of course. It’s to make you hurriedly click on the link which reads “You can cancel a Subscription at any time: Cancel / Refund Subscriptions.”

iTunes Netflix Scam Email

You might be on the back foot because this isn’t from Netflix. It looks like it’s from iTunes. And it really does look genuine. The logo’s there, there’s a receipt order number, and the email address (“ID” followed by lots of numbers) is generally topped off with “ssl.apple.com”.


The scammers have the gall to pretend the message comes via the security protocol, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) What Is an SSL Certificate, and Do You Need One? Browsing the Internet can be scary when personal information is involved. Read More .

The link redirects to a “My Apple” page which looks authentic. It’s obviously not. It asks for your Apple ID, which alone gives cybercriminals a lot of access to sensitive data; it’s even more worrying if you use the same password for other services, including online banking Is Online Banking Safe? Mostly, But Here Are 5 Risks You Should Know About There's a lot to like about online banking. It's convenient, can simplify your life, you might even get better savings rates. But is online banking as safe and secure as it should be? Read More , PayPal, or Netflix!

If your email address utilizes an iCloud account What Is iCloud Drive and How Does It Work? Confused about what makes iCloud Drive different to Apple's other cloud services? Let us show you what it can do, and how you can make the most of it. Read More , you’re arguably more at risk of receiving this message because the scammers already have confirmation that you own an Apple product. After all, an Android user is just going to shrug off an email about an iTunes account.

Image Credit: Jenny Cestnik via Flickr.
Image Credit: Jenny Cestnik via Flickr


This scam’s been doing the rounds for about a year now, albeit with different iterations. One even details the movies you’re purported to have streamed, though as the images are skewed, it doesn’t look so authentic. The latest version, however, is the most realistic yet and will make you do a double-take.

What to Do

Stay sceptical. It always helps. Whenever you get an email from a dubious address How to Spot a Phishing Email Catching a phishing email is tough! Scammers pose as PayPal or Amazon, trying to steal your password and credit card information, are their deception is almost perfect. We show you how to spot the fraud. Read More , remember it’s potentially a scam. Approach it as if cybercriminals are lurking over your shoulder, rubbing their hands together in anticipation and glee.

Learn to scour an email and spot obvious giveaways 5 Examples To Help You Spot A Fraud Or Fake Email The shift from spam to phishing attacks is noticeable, and is on the rise. If there's a single mantra to keep in mind, it's this -- the number one defense against phishing is awareness. Read More . Netflix and Apple aren’t prone to typos or grammar errors.

They also know how much their services cost; pricing mistakes are a sure-fire way of spotting when an email’s fraudulent. I received the latter email, supposedly from iTunes, and nearly fell for it in a fit of panic. Fortunately, I noticed that the billing amount was wrong. For some reason, scammers are using incorrect totals, ranging from around £20 to £35.99, for a single month (these figures were tailored for me, a U.K.-based writer — the scammers will tailor their hacks for you wherever you are).

That’s why, even if you don’t use Netflix, it’s a good idea to know how much it costs. There are no set-up costs — in fact, that first month is free. There are three streaming alternatives: Basic ($8/ £5.99 a month); Standard ($10/ £7.49); and Premium ($12/ £8.99); while other prices are offered to make use of their DVD/ Blu-ray services, ranging up to $20.

Prices will likely change Is Netflix Worth The Money? There are more people who don't subscribe to Netflix as those who do, and that swathe of the population wants to know if they're missing out on anything. Is Netflix worth the money? Read More in the future, so check on the official Netflix site, making sure you’re on the correct region.

That’s solid advice too for whenever you receive a message purporting to be from Netflix or iTunes: don’t click on any links. Instead, open up a separate session and sign into your account from there. Netflix does its best to track down scam emails, so forward any to phishing@netflix.com, including header information.

Apple assures users that it’ll never ask for private information like passwords, social security number, or payment details over email. Scrub up on things banks will never ask you online Five Things Banks Will Never Ask You Online Ever received an email from your bank conerning suspicious account activity? Such messages are almost always scams, so here are a few things your bank will never request online – but fraudsters will. Read More — if financial institutions won’t ask for these details, neither will other professional services (in most cases).

Fraud & Chill?

Apple has further warned:

Email messages that contain attachments or links to non-Apple websites are from sources other than Apple, although they may appear to be from the iTunes Store. Most often, these attachments are malicious and should not be opened. You should never enter your Apple account information on any non-Apple website.

Cybercriminals will always target popular services, and email scams remain a popular means Top 5 Current Email Scams You Should Know About Read More to obtain sensitive information. You should always keep a clear head when skimming through your inbox.

Have you spotted any other fraudulent emails from Netflix? How do you protect yourself?

Related topics: Netflix, Online Fraud, Phishing.

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