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WhatsApp scam offers free Netflix, but steals info and commits SMS fraud

WhatsApp users are receiving scam messages from trusted sources, offering free Netflix access for a year if they pass on a link to 10 of their contacts.

Of course this shortened link is malicious, and the web page it leads to is actually "stealing information from users' mobile phones for different types of subscriptions, or opening the system's messaging application in order to send an SMS to a premium number with a certain text, or even encouraging users to download applications from unofficial sites," according to ESET in a blog post Friday.

At first glance, the message appears to be from the Netflix.com domain, but its source is actually an external domain that uses as a trusted certificate to feign legitimacy, the blog post continues. The site can also detect the language of a user's device in order to display its content accordingly.

ESET is advising users who already passed on the link to alert their contacts of the scam, uninstall any programs related to this campaign and check with their telephone providers to ensure that they haven't been unknowingly subscribed to a premium messaging service.

Bradley Barth

As director of community content at CyberRisk Alliance, Bradley Barth develops content for SC Media online conferences and events, as well as video/multimedia projects. For nearly six years, he wrote and reported for SC Media as deputy editor and, before that, senior reporter. He was previously a program executive with the tech-focused PR firm Voxus. Past journalistic experience includes stints as business editor at Executive Technology, a staff writer at New York Sportscene and a freelance journalist covering travel and entertainment. In his spare time, Bradley also writes screenplays.

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