Trying to reach Netflix for help with your account? If so, watch out for this crafty con. Scammers provide fake customer support numbers online and fool callers into purchasing unrelated computer software.
Here’s how the scam works. You are having trouble with your Netflix account, so you search online for the customer support phone number. A quick search turns up what appears to be a legitimate toll-free number (1-888 or 1-844 number). You dial it, and a “representative” answers. This person says your Netflix account has been hacked. In one version, the scammer claimed a dozen people from across the globe all used a victim's account.
Skeptical? The “representative” says he can provide proof that your account was hacked. But first, they need remote access to your computer. Unfortunately, granting a scammer access can open you up to the risk of identity theft. Scam artists can install malware that records passwords or hunts for personal information, such as bank account numbers. However, according to BBB scam tracker reports, this scam appears to be a pretext for selling computer security software. The expensive software — victims report paying between $200 and $900 — will do nothing to fix your Netflix account, which was never hacked in the first place.
How can you protect yourself from tech support scam?
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▪ Don't ever give a stranger remote access. Granting someone remote access to your computer permits them to install malware and access your files. Don't do it!
▪ Be careful when searching for support phone numbers. Unfortunately, Netflix isn't the only company for which scammers have posted phony customer support numbers online. Be careful and use the number on the business's website (double check the URL) or your bill.
▪ Never provide your credit card, financial information or prepaid gift card numbers to someone claiming to be from tech support.
▪ Check out BBB tips: Many tech support scams use similar techniques, see bbb.org/techsupportscam for more advice.
▪ What if you already gave computer access to a scammer? Change the passwords for your computer, email, online banking and credit card accounts.
▪ Be sure to update your antivirus software and run a complete virus scan.
▪ Consider placing a fraud alert on your credit report if you shared personal and banking information with the scammer or if you suspect that malware was installed.
▪ Find a trustworthy computer repair company to ensure that all malware has been removed.
To find a BBB accredited computer repair company or for more consumer tips that you can trust, visit www.bbb.org.
Kelvin Collins is president/CEO of the Better Business Bureau Serving the Fall Line Corridor including 83 counties in portions of Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. The column is provided by the local BBB and the Council of Better Business Bureaus. The BBB sets standards for ethical business behavior, monitors compliance and helps consumers identify trustworthy businesses. Questions or complaints about a company or charity should be referred to the BBB at 1-800-763-4222, www.bbb.org or by email to email@example.com.