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A group of people in the UK claim they have been getting shady emails purporting to be from Netflix over the last week asking for billing and payment information, some of which are painfully obvious scams.
According to a handful of people who've shared a variety of these scammy solicitation emails with BuzzFeed News, they seem to be coming from various UK IP addresses and targeting those in the country. Some say they believe this is a low-grade effort to exploit an increase in streaming during quarantine.
Lauren Benson, a 20-year-old who lives in Kingston upon Hull in England, said she's been receiving these kinds of emails almost every day since she's been sheltering in place in May.
Like others, they're all sent from spambot email addresses, like "email@example.com" or "firstname.lastname@example.org," but they appear to be sent from "Netflix Billing" or "Netflix Support." The emails are complete with the company letterhead at the top — and its actual address and related company links at the bottom.
Many include a link out to "update your payment information." Do not click this.
"I started to receive the emails around the start of lockdown more frequently obviously due to people increasing their online activity," Benson told BuzzFeed News. "The scammers think they’ll fall for it more, [but I] always can tell when they’re a scam either by looking at the email address it comes from or the content of the email and what it asks for."
Others say they're receiving a ton of these scams and they don't even have their own Netflix accounts. (They're already scamming their friends and relatives — just kidding.)
Melvin Boateng of London said he started noticing them in his inbox around May 10. But he knew right away it was a fraud.
"I realized it was fraud because I don’t pay for my Netflix — my sister does," he said. "Also the name came up as 'support manage' which looked suspicious to me. But there were many giveaway signs, such as the layout of the email [and] the actual email."
Logan Hibbert, 20, from the south of England, also told BuzzFeed News he started receiving these kinds of emails in mid-May and found the whole thing immediately suspicious and funny because he also uses someone else's log-in.
"I don’t actually use Netflix on my account so there would be no way I would have billing to my name," he said.
On one occasion he decided to respond.
When contacted and made aware, Netflix told BuzzFeed News it advises users to go to its security website if they have any questions or doubts about the veracity of an email. Users can also get "tips on how to protect their accounts, and to help identify and handle a suspicious email or text," a spokesperson said.
"Members can also reach out to our live customer service to address specific concerns. ... The safety of our members’ accounts is a top priority for us."
On May 13, however, Benson received an email that just simply cracked her up. The email, which was sent from "email@example.com," had all the similar components of previous scams, but the emailer had a profile image associated with the account.
"I just thought it was a crease because it looks like someone’s nan is trying to scam me," she said, laughing.
BuzzFeed News has reached out to the emailer to ask if the woman depicted is the scammer and has not yet heard back.
"[They're] clearly not an expert at scamming," she said. "I've received fake emails quite frequently but never one that’s made me laugh as much as this."
Her tweet about this "nan" trying to scam her has gone viral and given people a much-needed laugh.
In all seriousness, vigilantly check details of your emails before entering any personal information, and consult the streaming company's security page or contact them if scam emails persist.
Wishing you happy, safe streaming.