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Dubai: If you have come across sponsored posts on Facebook declaring that thousands of people in the UAE have cancelled their Netflix subscription this week because they have moved to a better streaming service called MovieFlix - then beware!

It’s a sophisticated phishing scam designed to steal your credit card details.

Scamsters have used the picture of a TV news reader to give legitimacy to their devious plan. Image Credit: Screengrab

The posts claim that the new competitor is free for life for people living in the UAE provided they sign before September 17.

Readers are then led to an article on a fake news website where they are told how MovieFlix provides an identical streaming service to that of Netflix but with a lot of extras (sic).

False claims

“The users admit it is much faster, cleaner and with many more movies/series than Netflix. They currently give a free access to the first 5,000 people who subscribe even though it seems they have almost reached this number. With an almost unlimited selection of HD movies and TV series having an incredibly good image quality and that loads up at blazing speeds on all devices (TV, smartphones, computers, tablets), it is not surprising that thousands of people have already switched from Netflix to this new service, MovieFlix,” says the misleading article, complete with fake reviews. “After three years on Netflix, I tested this service for free because I’m from the United Arab Emirates, and I must say it is way better than Netflix!,“ says one of them.

Red flag

On another purported news website, a headline screams: “There is a better service than Netflix... and it’s free for the United Arab Emirates!”

fake news website promoting the scam. Image Credit: Screengrab

A picture of a TV news reader with the UAE national flag in the backdrop is used in the article to make it look legitimate. However, Gulf News found out that the same woman’s picture has been used to peddle the scam in other international markets with only the country’s flag changing each time.

Dangerous ploy

No sooner do you sign up for the MovieFlix membership you are led to page where you are asked to enter your credit card details.

As it turns out, it’s a ploy to steal your credit card details.

Consumer watchdogs' warnings

Consumer watchdogs have repeatedly warned people not to fall for the racket.

“Beware an ad on Facebook that claims to be promoting ‘MovieFlix’ but is a phishing scam designed to steal credit card details. If you provided yours, watch your accounts or cancel cards,” Western Australia’s consumer watchdog said in its tweet recently. Similar warnings have been issued by internet regulatory authorities in other countries.

Netflix earlier said internet scammers often targeted popular brands with large customer bases, to lure users into giving out personal information.

Scammers behind MovieFlix have used the same modus operandi to target people in other countries including Australia, New Zealand Canada and Ireland.

Waleed Mansour, Linux and cyber security expert at in Dubai said UAE residents who have subscribed for the service must immediately cancel their credit cards before their information is stolen.