For nearly 100 years, The Walt Disney Company has been in the business of entertainment. It started with animation and spread to theme parks, cruise ships, TV shows, live action films, and TV networks. It only makes sense then, that entertainment powerhouse would eventually jump on the streaming bandwagon with Disney+.
Launched early in 2020, Disney+ has exceeded all expectations for subscription rates. The acquisition of exclusive content from Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic and others, not to mention the company’s own vast library of popular original movies and TV shows, has made it a no-brainer for tens of millions of subscribers.
As with just about anything that is in demand, Disney+ attracted its share of scammers…many of whom started their attacks on nearly the same day that the service launched. How can you tell if you are about to be the victim of a Disney+ scam? And how can you stop someone who may already have access to your account?
Read the following guide to find out more about the common scams associated with Disney+, how to verify if your account has been hacked, and then how to get rid of any unauthorized users.
(Do you use a streaming service other than Disney+? Check out our other Streaming Service Scams guides for help with other major providers.)
Popular Scams Associated with Disney+
“Your Account Has Been Locked”
The most commonly reported type of scam associated with Disney+ is email phishing. These scam emails tend to include messaging along the lines of “your Disney+ account has been locked due to unusual activity.”
With these emails, scammers try to convince a subscriber to update their password. Doing so gives the scammer log-in information, which they then use to access the subscriber’s account. Or they appear to require users to re-enter their payment information in order to allow them to unlock their account.
How do scammers try to get the information they want? They either:
- Request a reply to the email with the needed payment or log-in information
- Click on a link in the email to have a user input information on the Disney+ site (see “Website Clones” below)
- Call the customer service number included in the email
For the recipient of such an email, the problem with any and all of these methods is that they are all highly likely to be fake. But how do you know for sure? You don’t want your account to be inaccessible, after all.
You can verify whether or not there is an actual problem with your account without giving scammers your information. At the same time, you can find out whether an email is fake or not. Just follow these steps:
- Do not click on any links, don’t reply to the email, and don’t call any phone numbers included in a suspicious email.
- Verify the sender’s email. Make sure it is coming from a legitimate Disney address.
- Pay attention to the wording of the email. Stilted language or other errors are a giveaway.
- Go to Disney+ directly and log-in that way. If you are able to log-in, that proves that the email about your account being locked is a fake.
- Also go to Disney+ directly to locate a phone number if you want to talk to a customer service representative.
Unless a phishing email requests contact another way, it often leads to a spoofed Disney+ website. The presence of fake websites has been more commonly noted with longer-lived streaming services like Netflix. However, several spoofed Disney+ sites have begun popping up as well.
Many of these spoofed sites are directly tied to phishing. But there are others that have cropped up with offers of cheap or even free subscriptions to lure non-subscribers.
Some of these sites could be sloppy and easy to identify as fake. But then there are others that are virtually identical. This can make it very hard to detect the fraud at hand.
How to Find Out if Your Disney+ Account Was Hacked
If someone manages to get access to your Disney+ account without your permission, the most obvious sign of this will be an inability for you to access your own account. One of the first things that a scammer will usually do if they are able to get your log-in information is to change it. That way, you are locked out and they have control over your account.
Disney+ also keeps tabs on your account for you. So, if they do notice any suspicious activity, they will lock your account for a period of time. After that, you will need to reset your password. Sound familiar? If you do get communication to this effect, your safest route would be to follow the account verification steps above. It may not be a phishing attempt, but why take the risk when going to the site directly is just as easy?
Steps You Should Take to Block Hackers
The best way to keep hackers at bay is by setting up an account with difficult-to-guess credentials. Set-up your Disney+ account using the password best practices you would use for any online account:
- Come up with a password that is complex.
- Also make sure that that password is unique to your Disney+ account. (You don’t want a hacker to be able to access any other of your accounts if they are able to guess one password.)
- Change your password periodically to make it more of a moving target.
- If you have trouble remembering passwords, consider using a password manager that can remember it for you while still keeping it secure.
Anytime you do change your password, Disney+ will send a One Time Passcode to verify your identity–that’s their version of 2-factor authentication. Their customer service is also well aware of the plentiful scamming and hacking attempts being made. As such, they are highly responsive to communications to that effect and will do all they can to restore your credentials and account back to you, their rightful owner.
This post is one in a series about managing streaming service scams. Others include:
For more information about scams in general, you can find it on the PeopleFinders blog.
Photo credit: AFM Visuals – www.shutterstock.com