Netflix ‘tech support’ scam

by | Mar 4, 2014 | News

A screen capture of the dangerous link.

A screen capture of the dangerous link.

By Derick Deonarain

Computer security experts are warning the general public of a new elaborate tech support scam where thieves pose as Netflix representatives to steal money and information from users.

This phishing scheme that attacks users when they log into their Netflix accounts prompts account holders to call a toll-free “Member Services” phone number after reading a pop up that says their Netflix service has been suspended due to “unusual activity.”

The phone number, which is not the official customer care contact for Netflix, directs users to a call centre in India, where a call centre agent will pick up the phone and pose as someone working for the online streaming company.

The call centre agent then tricks concerned Netflix users into believing that their account has been hacked by people across the globe and convinces callers that Netflix needs access to their computer in order to fix the problem.

Once customers oblige, the hackers then run software that steal personal information and swindle unsuspecting victims into spending S400 to “fix” the security issue.

“I’ve been investigating and tracking these tech supports scams for about a year now and this is the first time I’ve ever seen or head of someone going this far,“ said Jérôme Segura, a Senior Security Researcher for Malwarebytes.

Segura, who originally found this tech support scam, said these thieves usually prey on people who are more likely to be home during the day.

“Scammers try to target people in English speaking countries like Canada, the United States, and United Kingdom and call during business hours to get the single mothers or older people who may be home and too tired to pay attention to some of the details.”

While scams like this are rare for licensed media streaming sties, Netflix is making sure to stay on top of any security issues.

“Normally when a phishing scam or security issue is reported from a customer we attach a note to a customers file and send it off to our security department to investigate and make sure that all of our users information is safe,” said a Netflix Representative. ­

Though the amount of people scammed is unknown at the moment, the mere thought of being hacked is concerning for some people.

“While there are worse things that could happen, getting hacked, especially on Netflix is something that would definitely bother me,” said Jessica Stein, a Digital Video Production Coordinator for Blue Ant Media.

The best way to avoid these scams is to simply be aware of them and look at the warning signs said Segura.

“You should always look at the ending domain because a lot of these scams don’t have official websites names, so for example the Netflix site used a ‘.co’ domain instead of the official ‘.com’ name and that was when I got suspicious.”