As expected, stay at home orders nationwide caused an increase in streaming. The jump in subscriptions and viewing time has benefitted the industry but has also caught the attention of scammers.
The cybersecurity firm Mimecast found over 700 suspicious websites attempting to impersonate Netflix, just between April 6 and April 12 alone. The Guardian first reported the findings.
“We have seen a dramatic rise in suspicious domains impersonating a variety of streaming giants for nefarious purposes,” said Carl Wearn, the head of e-crime at Mimecast. “These spoof websites often lure unsuspecting members of the public in with an offer of free subscriptions to steal valuable data. The data harvested includes names, addresses and other personal information, as well as stealing credit card details for financial gain.”
Those behind the fake websites are looking to capture credit card or bank account information, but can also use login credentials to access other apps and services.
While many of the fake websites are easy to identify and avoid, others could easily be confused for the official websites of streaming services including Netflix and Disney+. The same goes for scam emails, which have also been more prevalent since the pandemic began in the US. Some Cord Cutters News readers have even been sharing that they’ve received fake Disney+ emails about issues with their account when they’ve never created a Disney+ account.
Stay safe when creating and managing subscriptions, and if you see a fraudulent website, you can report it here.
Here are some tips for identifying fake websites and scam emails.
- Check the domain name. Look for the official domain of the streaming service – for example, https://www.disneyplus.com or https://www.netflix.com.
- Look for spelling mistakes. Many fake websites will use a translator tool to generate content. When you see a block of text on the site, a quick scan will often show many spelling and grammar mistakes.
- Double check sender email addresses. When you receive an email from a streaming service, you’ll find an official email address from the company. Scam emails will come from an entirely different domain, often with a jumble of letters and numbers in the address.
- Don’t click questionable links. If you get an email alerting you that there has been a problem with your account, go to the official service website and log in to check your account. Don’t click links from a suspicious email.
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