Don't Let Freeloaders Hack Your Netflix: How to Protect Your Account Learn how to check if strangers are mooching off your account and what to do about it.

Your Netflix account (and the money you put into it every month) shouldn’t be taken for granted. But even against your best efforts Manage your passwords, strangers can find illegal ways to steal your credentials to stream anything they want without your permission. When your account gets hacked and a freeloader is watching the top shows in streaming On your tab, it feels like a double slap in the face. Ouch.

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You might be okay with that Share your password with family and friends, but beware of suspicious activity you don’t recognize. If you have noticed something patchy with your streaming service account, here is what you should do. Moochers, watch out.

Got a new style or profile? It’s a red flag

Most of us pay attention to the look of our Netflix home screen and the profiles that are on an account. Up to five are allowed, but if you only have one or two and more show up, that’s your first clue that someone has infiltrated your account. In some cases, profiles may have been deleted or modified.

Check with your group of password participants if anyone has added or removed a new profile before you get alerted. If no one in your inner circle (or their outer circle) is responsible for the new profile, delete it and set up a new password.

To delete a profile, you must access Netflix in a web browser. Click on your profile icon and tap Manage Profiles. Select the rogue profiles and click on them Extinguish.

Next, check the watch history on your profiles. Is there a new tv show in your keep watching the series? What about a new genre in your recommendation section? If you notice a new “Because You’ve Seen It” suggestion for a movie or series you’ve never seen, a takeover may have occurred. Again, check with your circle first to make sure your mom or son hasn’t accidentally watched all of these shows K-Dramas or baking shows on your profile. Not your style, right?

track something down

Netflix sends an email notification when it detects a “new” device that has signed into your account. Typically, the company provides information about the device type, location, and date of enrollment. However, Netflix doesn’t do this every time someone signs up, so it’s up to you to regularly check that information.

Sign in to a web browser and navigate to your Account Side. click Recent device streaming activity under settings to see where, when and how people have been streaming from your Netflix account. I recently discovered that a stranger in Sao Paulo, Brazil enjoyed the service at my expense (with a FireTV stick), prompting me to change my password immediately. If you see similar patterns in your account, it’s time for a password update. We have great tips for create and protect strong passwords.

Before you do that, head back to settings and sign out of all devices to ensure everyone has to sign in from scratch once you change your password.

Screenshot of Netflix streaming activity

Here you can check your Netflix streaming activity. You should also log out of any device after changing your password.

Screenshot by Kourtnee Jackson/CNET

Netflix doesn’t allow you to change or delete account activity information, so you can at least take a snapshot of the IP address, device, and location to document if this is still happening.

Check your bill

It’s likely that you set Netflix to auto-renew and therefore don’t check the billing amount every month. It’s time to take a look to see if you still have your chosen subscription plan. Even if you found out your account was hacked and you’ve canceled Netflix, follow this advice because someone may still be streaming while you’re being billed for it. Check cancellation and billing status.

As an active user, if you know you paid for Standard — that’s now $15.50 per month — and have been billed $20 in the last three months, chances are someone has switched you to Premium without your knowledge has upgraded.

In that case, contact Netflix about the discrepancy and let them know you’ve probably been hacked. It’s still up to you to change your password and email address.

Continue reading: 9 useful ways to tweak your Netflix settings

Secure your account

It is imperative that you change your password as soon as possible before the scammer attempts to log in again. Also make sure your password is good. “123456” will not cut it. As recently as June this year, a group of Twitter users shared their collective misery at having their Netflix accounts hacked. Some said their email addresses were stolen, and as a result, hackers changed their passwords to seize their accounts, as Jack Sparrow did with Barbossa to steal the Black Pearl. In some cases, the freeloaders change the selected languages, update the account type and add a whole bunch of new profiles. The nerve!

It’s a good idea to check if your email address has been compromised by visiting Have I Been Pwned. Enter your email address or phone number and prepare to see if your information has been shared on the dark web. Are you getting bad news about a data breach here? I also. A security breach occurs when your email address, password, account name, credit card information, or other data stored on a website is illegally obtained by hackers and made available to the public. Swap out your Netflix email address for one that hasn’t turned up in the filthy digital underworld.

Note that if you change your email address on your Netflix account page, you will be prompted to have a code emailed to you to verify your identity. Follow these steps to switch to your updated email address. However, if the account email address now belongs to the hacker, you will need to contact Netflix’s customer service team to report this, or as a last resort: cancel the account and start a new one.

And when you do finding out it was a friend or loved one who used your account, these tips will put an end to their freeloading behavior too—if you want.

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