According to the BBB “if you’ve signed up for a streaming service, such as Netflix, Disney+, PBS Passport, or Hulu, be careful when activating your account. Unfortunately, scammers are trying to steal login information and other personal data with fake websites that appear to come from the streaming service provider.”
The Scam -You purchased a subscription to a streaming service. To activate it, you need to log in on your web browser. A quick search brings up several links with the streaming service’s official name. You click on the first result.
However, the website doesn’t look quite right. For example, as soon as you click the link, the site prompts you to update your web browser. Scammers have set up a lookalike website to trick you into downloading malware. If you click “Update” or any other button, you could download a virus that gives scammers access to your personal information. It’s best to close the page immediately.
Other times, when you click on the search result, you’re directed to a website that features the official logo and branding of your streaming service. However, it looks a little (or sometimes a lot) different than what you remember. If you enter your user ID and password on a lookalike site, it goes into the hands of scammers. These con artists then have the information they need to access your real account on the official website–as well as anywhere else you use that username and password. How can you avoid these scams? See Below
- Always double check that you are visiting an official website. Scammers can make fake websites look legitimate in search engine’s results, but they can’t copy a website’s official URL. Before you click on a website, take a close look at the URL. Check that it is spelled correctly. Scammers hope you’ll overlook this and click without a second thought.
- Be wary of ads and sponsored links. Sometimes scammers use ads to get their lookalike website to appear first in the search results. Remember, just because a website is at the top of the list doesn’t mean it’s the official website.
- Be careful with your login information. Always make sure you are on an official website before entering your username and password. Never enter this information into third-party websites. Keep in mind, too, that legitimate customer service representatives generally do not ask for passwords over the phone or through an email.
Read more about activation scams where scammers ask you to pay unnecessary fees or provide your login information. To stay alert to similar tech scams, see advice on tech support scams. Learn how to spot a scam.
If you’ve spotted a scam (whether or not you’ve lost money), report it to BBB.org/ScamTracker. Your report can help others avoid falling victim to scams. Find more information about scams and how to avoid them at BBB.org/AvoidScams.