Residents of the United Arab Emirates are being warned about sponsored Facebook posts stating that thousands of people have cancelled their subscriptions to Netflix due to them moving to a more sophisticated streaming service known as MovieFlix.
The posts are actually part of a clever phishing scam intended to steal people’s credit card details, and claim that the new website is completely free for people who live in the UAE, providing they sign up prior to 17th September.
Readers are also being fooled by a link that leads to a fake news website that claims that MovieFlix is identical to the streaming service offered by Netflix while also offering a multitude of extra features.
The article claims that users of the service regard it as cleaner, faster, and having more variety than Netflix, with free access currently being offered to the first 5,000 individuals to subscribe.
The fake news article goes on to say that thousands of people have already changed to MovieFlix from Netflix due to the nearly unlimited selection of TV shows and HD movies being offered, and it even offers fake testimonials from non-existent users.
The fake site has a photo of a television newsreader standing against the national flag of the UAE. This photo was used to enhance the story’s credibility, with the same photo having been used to promote the same scam in overseas markets, with the only difference being the flag of the country involved.
However, the moment that users attempt to sign up for membership with MovieFlix, they are led to a page asking for details of their credit cards.
Warnings about the scam have been repeatedly issued by consumer watchdogs in a number of countries, including Australia.
Earlier this year, Western Australia’s Customer Protection warned people that the MovieFlix offer was a scam intended to steal their credit card details. Then the warning was being reposted on social media site Twitter by the specialised Scamwatch team of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
According to Netflix, scammers often target popular brands that have large customer bases in order to try to con individuals into providing personal information such as credit card details.
The same modus operandi has also been used by the scam artists behind MovieFlix in other nations such as Canada, the Republic of Ireland and New Zealand.
Waleed Mansour, a cybersecurity and Linus expert at Hala5.com, based in Dubai, says that anyone in the UAE who has subscribed to the service already should immediately cancel their credit card before any information is stolen and used by the scammers.
There have been a number of other warnings issued in the UAE and Dubai in particular about scams intended to trick people into giving out their credit card details this year.
The scams have included claiming that people have won prizes from a famous hypermarket, requests to update bank statements from fraudsters claiming to be bank representatives, and even callers pretending to be police officers.