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Over 700 fake Netflix websites appear in one week as scammers look to exploit pandemic

While streaming services are seeing record viewership as a result of the ongoing global pandemic, hackers are creating counterfeit sites to capitalise on the interest and potential confusion.

According to security firm Mimecast, more than 700 websites impersonating Netflix appeared online between April 6 and Easter Sunday on April 12. Similarly, Disney+ saw four copycat websites launch in the same period.

Many of these websites appear almost identical to their real counterparts, but that legitimacy is paper-thin with the sites being poorly designed and having language errors. These websites have no interest in presenting users with any actual content and are solely focused on scamming people for their credit card and personal information.

Mimecast head of e-crime Carl Wearn said: “We have seen a dramatic rise in suspicious domains impersonating a variety of streaming giants for nefarious purposes. These spoof websites often lure unsuspecting members of the public in with an offer of free subscriptions to steal valuable data. The data harvested includes names, addresses and other personal information, as well as stealing credit card details for financial gain.

“My advice to the public is simple: if something looks too good to be true, then it probably is. Offers of free subscriptions are usually well-advertised and easy to find, so check the validity of any such claim before providing any information.”

As the leading OTT player, Netflix has been the biggest target of scammers amid the pandemic with multiple reports confirming that users should be on their guard.