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Free Netflix for a year, Tampa Bay? Nope, it’s probably smishing.

Those ever-clever scamsters are at the ready to take advantage of your boredom via text. Don’t do it.
Streaming has helped stave off boredom in pandemic times. But bed alert for scams.
Streaming has helped stave off boredom in pandemic times. But bed alert for scams.
Published Jan. 19

In the daily boredom of the current stay-at-home world, it sounds like a pretty good deal.

Here’s free Netflix for a year, says the unexpected text message on your phone, to help you get through this pandemic.

How nice, right? But think before you click to sign up and fill in any personal information. Because it’s likely a scam.

By now we’ve all heard of phishing. Welcome to smishing — trying to trick consumers via text, sometimes in the form of phony banking alerts or package delivery problems.

The Better Business Bureau has gotten numerous reports to its Scam Tracker about phony text messages promising a year of free Netflix viewing. The text directs you to a website where you fill out some personal information that may include payment details. Then, the con promises, you’re on your way to binge-watching Cobra Kai and Schitt’s Creek for free.

Except the website has no real connection to the streaming service and is instead an attempt to get your information for nefarious purposes.

One victim who signed up said their credit card got charged over and over. When they called, they were told no more money would be taken out of their account, only to be charged $39.99 a week later. They were told it would take three days for a refund, then seven to 10 days. After 10 days, no refund.

The Better Business Bureau advises consumers to be leery of unsolicited texts and to contact the company directly about any offer that seems too good to be true — because it usually is.

Also, when a suspicious-sounding message asks you to reply “NO” or “STOP,” don’t do it, the Better Business Bureau advises. A reply can let a scammer know that your phone number is active.

For more information and to view the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker, go to BBB.org.