How Your Netflix Obsession Could Get You Scammed

People in a rush to get back to binge-watching their favorite shows are the prime focus for this scam targeting Netflix users.

A new scam targeting Netflix users is being reported by a cyber-security company that says the scammers are trying to get credit card and other personal information.

FireEye Labs first reported the phishing scam earlier this week, saying customers should be wary of any emails asking them to update their Netflix member information. Netflix had not posted any guidance for customers on its blogs nor released an official statement at the time of this writing, but a representative sent us this: “Members who want to learn more about how to keep their personal information safe against phishing scams and other malicious activity can go to netflix.com/security or contact Customer Service directly.”

According to the FireEye Labs report, a link in the email being sent to Netflix members looks like an official Netflix web page but is not legitimate. The page asks users for:

  • The name on their credit card
  • Their credit card number
  • Card expiration date
  • 3-digit security code; and
  • Social Security number

According to FireEye, the email looks very realistic, and the phony site mimics the Netflix homepage, as you can see in the screengrab FireEye published in its report:

Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 11.58.02 AM

According to FireEye, the phishing sites it referenced in its report are no longer active, but new scams like this pop up often. It’s important for consumers to know these things exist and be very careful about sharing sensitive personal or financial information.

How to Protect Yourself From Phishing & Other Scams

There are some standard best practices when it comes to protecting yourself from scams on the internet. These tips for better internet security are a good place to start. In a nutshell, it’s always a good idea to be suspicious, especially if a company is reaching out to you through email or text message. And until you’ve confirmed that the email, text or even phone call are legitimate, it’s wise to never give out personal data like your credit card or debit card numbers, date of birth, address or, worst of all, your Social Security number.

If you think you’ve been a victim of identity theft, you can monitor your credit scores for free by using Credit.com’s free credit report snapshot, or by paying for a complete credit report monitoring service, which includes your full credit report and daily alerts to monitor your credit.

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5 Ways to Save on Netflix

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Whether it’s shows on other networks or their own originals, Netflix is one of my favorite services for cutting the cord. If you’re a fan, too, with some creativity you could save money on your Netflix subscription.

Here are just a few of my favorite Netflix hacks.

1. Share an Account

Wait a minute — Netflix lets you share? CEO Reed Hastings has said in the past that account sharing was a positive thing, so they must be.

In fact, the company’s different packages are set up with sharing in mind. Their Standard Package allows you to watch Netflix on two screens, and their Premium Package lets you watch on up to four screens. You can also create up to five profiles on each account, so you could easily share one Netflix account with four people, each with their own profile, and never notice a thing. (Keep in mind, though, depending on your subscription package, you may find it frustrating to share if you can’t get on Netflix because everyone else is watching at the same time.)

While you won’t be able to split the bill, one solution is to have everyone buy gift cards and put them toward the account.

2. ‘Pause’ an Account

Expecting not to use your Netflix account for a few weeks or a few months? You can “pause” your membership. In the past, you could put an actual Hold on your account, effectively pausing it and the billing for a period of time.

Netflix has done away with that feature, but you can still “pause” an account by canceling it. (To do so, just go to your Account information, and click the Cancel Membership button under Membership & Billing.)

Netflix will save your account information for 10 months. To restart your membership, log back in and update your payment information. It’s a few extra steps, but if you aren’t going to use your account for a while, why pay for it?

3. Buy Netflix Gift Cards on Discount

If you’re willing to jump through a few hoops, you can search gift card marketplaces for discounted gift cards to stores that sell Netflix gift cards, like Target.

Target gift cards are often available for 4% to 5% off, and Target sells Netflix gift cards. Four percent to 5% off a Netflix subscription may or may not be worth your time — but hey, every penny counts.

When researching marketplaces to buy gift cards, be sure to review their buyer protections. Buying gift cards online can be tricky, but many marketplaces are mature and offer protections such as 100-day guarantees. Be sure those are in place before making a purchase. For more info on how to play it safe online, you can check out our tips here.

4. Choose the Right Plan

In previous years, Netflix had a whole litany of packages, and many members paid for plans they weren’t using. Nowadays, Netflix has streamlined everything. However, you still could be on a plan that’s more than you need.

Netflix offers three plans — Basic, Standard and Premium. Basic is the cheapest and lets you watch on one screen in Standard Definition. If you aren’t sharing your account and don’t care about picture quality, you might want to get the Basic package and not pay for HD. On the flip side, if you’re on Premium and don’t need four simultaneous screens and Ultra HD, why pay $2 more for Premium?

Review the different packages and make sure you’re paying for the one that’s right for you.

5. Don’t Miss Your Favorite Shows

This last tip is less about saving money on a subscription and more about getting the most value out of your account. Use third-party sites to help you find what’s new and what’s about the expire on Netflix. One site for finding the best in new-to-Netflix shows is Instantwatcher.com — their Expiring+Upcoming section is great for (as you’d expect) titles that are leaving or coming to Netflix.

Happy binging!

[Editor’s Note: If you’re looking to save on traditional cable services, you may want to check your credit. A good credit score can help you qualify for better prices on a plan. You can see where you stand by viewing two of your scores for free each month on Credit.com.] 

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The Dreaded Netflix Price Hike is Coming — Here’s What You Should Know

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The honeymoon will soon be over for Netflix’s most loyal subscribers. When the online video streaming service began raising the cost of its standard streaming plan in 2014 — first, with a jump from $7.99 to $8.99 monthly and, later, a jump to $9.99 monthly — existing subscribers got a break. They were able to keep their $7.99 or $8.99/month deal while new members paid the higher price point.

Since May, however, Netflix has been slowly rising membership costs for those early adopters to the current price point of $9.99/month for a standard membership. This summer, some 22 million subscribers — nearly half its total subscriber base of 45 million — will see their subscription costs rise. Netflix is undoubtedly hoping most subscribers won’t notice the few extra bucks on their monthly bill. Even so, an estimated 480,000 users will decide to cancel their plans, the company said.

How to know when your Netflix bill goes up: 

The company will alert subscribers by email, so keep an eye on your inbox.

Do you have to pay the higher price point?

No.

If $7.99 is all you have budgeted for streaming per month, don’t worry. Netflix is still offering a plan at $7.99 per month. However, at that rate you will only able to stream on one screen at a time. Paying $9.99 per month will allow streaming on up to two screens. Netflix’s premium subscription, $11.99 per month, will allow streaming on up to four screens.

If you’re a loyal Netflix user, it can still be a great value. Sharing online streaming subscriptions can be a smart, simple way to save on the cost of at-home entertainment. If you’ve got a couple of roommates who can split the bill, you could actually only be out of pocket a few bucks a month for unlimited access to Netflix’s catalog.

Good news: You’ve got plenty of other options.

Amazon Prime. If you’re already an Amazon Prime member, you automatically have access to its video streaming service, along with other perks like free 2-day shipping. The cost of a Prime membership is $99 if you pay annually, which might sound steep on its face but really works out to $8.25 per month — less than what you’d pay for a standard $9.99/month Netflix plan. Just be sure you actually pay for Amazon Prime annually because opting into the monthly payment will run you $10.99 and therefore cost an additional $32.88 per year. Unless you’re a loyal fan of Netflix’s original series like Orange is the New Black and House of Cards, it probably doesn’t make much sense to pay for both Amazon and Netflix.

Hulu. For $7.99 a month you can stream all you want but you’ll have to deal with commercials. Hulu Plus offers commercial-free viewing for $11.99, on par with Netflix’s premium subscription plan. However, whereas you can stream on up to four screens under a single Netflix subscription, Hulu only allows you to stream on one screen per subscription.

HBO Now.  HBO now offers its streaming-only service, HBO Now. It costs $14.99/month and includes total access to the HBO shows and movies cable subscribers enjoy. Just be prepared for a glitch every once in awhile — fans of highly popular shows like Game of Thrones have been known to crash the service when too many users log in to stream at once.

 

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Netflix Just Made It Easier to Save Cellphone Data When Streaming Its Movies

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Being able to Netflix and chill just got a bit easier thanks to a new tool unveiled by the company this week.

According to the streaming TV and movie provider, a new default setting will enable customers to stream about three hours of content per gigabyte of data, or about 600 Kilobits per second. Netflix claims this will boost video quality, but the real takeaway is that the change could help cellphone users avoid a high monthly phone bill due to too much data use.

“Our testing found that, on cellular networks, this setting balances good video quality with lower data usage to help avoid exceeding data caps and incurring overage fees,” Netflix said in a blog post. “If you have a mobile data plan with a higher data cap, you can adjust this setting to stream at higher bitrates.”

To set your cellular data usage, select App Settings from the Netflix iOS or Android app’s menu, pick Cellular Data Usage and switch off the automatic default. From there, you can select a higher or lower data usage setting that works with your mobile data plan; there’s even an unlimited option.

Saving on Your Cellphone Bill

Exceeding data caps is a sure way to rack up fees and hamper your budget. To get your usage in line, consider negotiating with your service provider to downgrade your plan or going elsewhere.

You may also be able to escape certain fees or pay lower rates for your cellphone service if you have a good credit score. (You can see where yours currently stands by viewing your two free credit scores, updated each month, on Credit.com.) If your credit is in rough shape, you may be able to improve your score by disputing errors on your credit report, paying down high credit card balances and limiting credit inquiries in the short-term.

You can find some more cellphone hacks that can save you money here.

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Friendly Reminder: Your Monthly Netflix Bill Is About to Go Up

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Remember a while back when Netflix was a total bro and let current subscribers keep their lower monthly subscription rate instead of charging the higher rate that new customers received? That’s changing next month.

In 2014, Netflix raised the price of its monthly standard streaming plan from $7.99 to $9.99, and existing customers rejoiced when they were allowed to keep their $2-a-month savings. But the clock has run out on that savings and in May, many subscribers who were grandfathered in will join the newbies at the $9.99-a-month rate.

Let’s crunch the numbers on that. Previously, a year’s worth of Netflix cost standard subscribers $95.88 a year. The new rate will be $119.88 a year. To put that in context, an Amazon Prime subscription, which includes a collection of free streaming video as well as other Amazon perks, is $99 a year. Netflix competitor Hulu charges users $7.99 a month ($95.88 a year) for its limited commercials plan and $11.99 a month ($143.88 a year) for its no commercials plan.

While the price increase won’t necessarily break the bank for many consumers, analysts reportedly expect a small percentage will unsubscribe due to the shift.

Monthly subscriptions are often a place consumers target when they’re re-evaluating their budget needs or want to pay off debt, especially if they aren’t making the most of the offering. If you do cancel, be sure to keep an eye on your credit card or debit card statements and make sure the charges don’t continue — a good rule of thumb for canceling any regular subscription charge to your credit card. Monitoring your financial accounts can also help you spot fraud and potential identity theft. You can also monitor your credit scores — you get two credit scores for free every month on Credit.com — to spot signs of identity theft as well.

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