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Don’t be fooled: This free Netflix offer is a scam

Those of us in quarantine have plenty of free time to kill. Some folks are spending it keeping up with the news, while others are focusing on the finer things in life: streaming Netflix and binge-watching shows.

Despite the sharp uptick in users, Netflix is still charging existing customers a monthly fee. This flies in the face of other services that are extending freebies during the coronavirus outbreak. Tap or click to see what you can get for free right now.

With money tight for so many Americans nowadays, free Netflix would be a sight for sore eyes. But if you get an offer for free Netflix over text or WhatsApp, delete it immediately. It’s just another scam.

If it sounds too good to be true …

People across the country have been receiving strange text messages promising them a three-month premium Netflix subscription for free in exchange for clicking a link.

The texts seem to be some kind of mass-mailer and are appearing as ordinary SMS texts and WhatsApp messages. A premium Netflix account features 4K streaming and costs $16 monthly, which makes following the text’s instructions highly tempting.

But if you do so, you’re putting your phone’s cybersecurity at risk — as well as your friends’ and family’s.

Following the link in the text will take you to a shady website called “netflix-usa[dot]net.” Obviously, this isn’t Netflix’s real web address, but it can be easy to make the mistake in the moment. Some versions of the text contain even stranger URLs that don’t follow any rhyme or reason.

But the icing on the cake comes once the page loads up. You’re told you’ll get access to your free subscription by inviting 10 other people to visit the website. A pyramid scheme on top of a phishing scheme! Lovely.

Needless to say, if you follow the trail all the way through, you don’t even get free Netflix. You just end up getting asked for more personal data and phone numbers. No thank you.

What can I do to stay safe from this weird scam?

Thankfully, this one is pretty easy to avoid. If you ever get a message that suggests you’ve won something when you didn’t enter a contest, don’t even bother reading it. Just hit “delete.”

Alternatively, if you get scams like this on WhatsApp, you can report the sender so they can’t spread their garbage around anymore. At the top of the message screen, tap on the sender’s name, scroll down and tap Report Contact.

This will let WhatsApp moderators know to review the sender’s activity and it can penalize or ban them for spamming.

But this obvious hoax does bring up some good cybersecurity points, like the following:

  1. Always pay attention to where a URL leads to before clicking it. This will help you catch obvious phonies like the link to this Netflix scam.
  2. Don’t stay on sites that ask for your personal information.

Tap or click here for more internet safety tips.

What makes this scam so nasty is the fact that it urges you to sign up other people. It should go without saying, but websites that ask you to share them around like a chain letter are not to be trusted.

Free Netflix would be a dream come true, but it’s not like you’re without options. Tap or click here to see what’s available to stream for free.

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