Scam warning: Streaming services targeted following spike in coronavirus demand – be aware
Coronavirus has forced millions across the UK to stay indoors as much as possible. Even when consumers are allowed to head outside their options will be limited as bars, cinemas and restaurants have all been forced to close.
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People’s lives have been upended and the normal things they would spend money on are now simply not an option.
As a result of this, the only real source of entertainment and relaxation that many people have comes from streaming services such as Netflix or NowTV.
Indeed, recent research from TopCashback highlighted just how dependent consumers are on these services in the current environment.
They examined recent sales and sign up reports from the likes of Netflix and Amazon and found the following results:
- The average Brit is signed-up to 5 subscriptions and are spending between £30-£40 amount per month/year on said services
- More than 40 percent of people have signed up to at least one new subscription since the coronavirus outbreak
- Consumers are spending, on average, £55.89 a month on subscriptions
- The top five types of subscriptions include TV streaming, music streaming, product delivery subscriptions, fitness subscriptions and recipe boxes. All of them, baring fitness subscriptions, have seen a year on year increase.
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Adam Bullock, a UK Director for www.topcashback.co.uk, commented on this new reality we find ourselves in: “Times are really hard at the moment and keeping busy and entertained at home has become more important to us than ever.
“While in previous years we looked at how forgotten subscriptions were costing Brits, over £400 million last year alone, this year we found that the majority of people feel they are getting value for money from their subscriptions.
“While people are getting use out of them at the moment, we would encourage those taking out new contracts or services, to be extra vigilant about when trials end, and consider if they are going to need or use it once self-isolation comes to an end.
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“When life eventually returns to normal, or as normal as it can after such events, be sure to keep an eye on subscriptions to see if they’re still worth the money.
“Before taking out a service it’s always worth looking to see if there are any voucher codes or cashback offered to cut down the cost of the subscription.”
Our subscription services are bringing us all a small level of comfort in this troubling period but this has not escaped the attention of the fraudulent.
Cifas, the fraud prevention organisations, recently released a coronavirus scam update which highlighted emerging scams.
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Unfortunately, fraudsters are now targeting streaming services as their demand has skyrocketed.
As the organisation revealed: “Entertainment streaming services such as Netflix and YouTube via Sky have seen a huge increase in viewers, with over 50 million additional requests to access their services during the pandemic.
“Fraudsters have been quick to spot the opportunity, and an increasing number of people are being offered access to fraudulent or illegal services in exchange for personal information which is later to use to commit identity fraud.”
This is a troubling development and Nick Downing, the Chief Intelligence officer for Cifas, highlighted the need for vigilance: “We continue to see new coronavirus related scams on a weekly basis, and so more than ever it is crucial that the public remain vigilant against fraud.
“Stop and think carefully before responding to unsolicited calls, texts or emails, and never be afraid to challenge requests for personal or financial information.
“We all have a part to play in making sure that fraudsters don’t succeed.”
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