Online streaming service MovieFlix a scam

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An advertisement on Facebook declaring thousands of Australians have switched from Netflix to MovieFlix - an identical streaming service - has been called out by the consumer watchdog as a phishing scam.

The ad leads to an article that claims to have been shared nearly 8000 times, with more than 116,000 comments, and appears to be hosted by a legitimate website australia-news.co.

But every tab on the website clicks through to the same online form asking users to sign up to the MovieFlix trial membership for free.

The ploy to steal consumers' credit card details was identified by Western Australia's Consumer Protection, a division of the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, and warned people not to fall for the scam.

"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," @ConsumerWA said in its tweet.

The comments were then retweeted by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC) specialised Scamwatch team, after the consumer watchdog confirmed they had received a number of reports about the MovieFlix ad.

A Netflix spokeswoman told AAP internet scammers often targeted popular brands with large customer bases, to lure users into giving out personal information.

The Facebook post by MovieFlix dates back to May 14, and has more than 550 comments, while an identical post replacing "Australia" with "New Zealand" has garnered just under half the online engagement.

The fake news story about MovieFlix has singled out other countries including Canada and Ireland, in a similar way.

© AAP 2019 Image credit: EPA/SASCHA STEINBACH

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