Better Business Bureau is warning consumers across the St. Louis region to be on guard against a new wave of fraudulent emails falsely claiming to be from Netflix. The emails have no connection to the video rental company and are designed to steal financial and other confidential information from the company’s customers.
The warning comes three years after a BBB alert on similar phishing schemes. It follows reports from two residents of Southeast Missouri who said they received new versions of the bogus emails in recent days.
Neither resident lost money nor information in the ruse, but the son of one of the consumers said his mother initially believed the email was legitimate. He said she was preparing to submit personal information until he warned her against doing so.
“She thought it was OK,” the son said. “These things go in cycles,” he said of the schemes. “And they always seem to go after the older folks.”
Even though the two consumers are from Charleston and Cape Girardeau, Mo., previous reports have come from across Missouri and Illinois.
The suspect emails carry the Netflix logo and the heading: “Payment details update required.”
Addressed to “Dears [sic] Customer,” the emails say: “We’re having some trouble with your current billing information. We’ll try again, but in the meantime you may want to update your payment details.”
The emails contain a link reading: “Update account now.” The link asks for the customer’s log-in name and password.
Several other links on the page are not functional. A toll-free phone number for questions has only nine numbers, instead of the required 10.
Netflix warns against phishing scams on its website, noting that thieves “may create fake websites that look like Netflix, or send official-looking (but fake) emails asking for your personal information.”
The Netflix warning says Netflix will never ask for any personal information via email, including requests for credit card or debit card numbers, Social Security numbers or account passwords.
BBB offers the following advice to consumers who receive questionable emails or text messages:
- Be wary of any message requesting personal or financial information, even it comes from a company or person whose name you recognize. In many cases, thieves use the names of well-known businesses on the hope that consumers will be more likely to believe the message is legitimate.
- If you have concerns about responding to a message, contact the company directly by going to its website or researching and calling a company representative directly. Do not trust phone numbers or email links in the message as they may be phony.
- If you suspect an email or text message may be bogus, contact BBB by calling 314-645-3300. Your attorney general’s office may also be able to assist you.
- If you believe a website or message is a Netflix phishing attempt, you may forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org.