Give Netflix your phone number to REALLY secure your account

Please introduce 2FA, Netflix

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Welcome to TNW Basics, a collection of tips, guides, and advice on how to easily get the most out of your gadgets, apps, and other stuff.

I woke up this morning to a horrifying email from Netflix: my account had been hacked. Someone had weaseled their way in while I slept peacefully and changed the account email.

I was shocked as I had taken all the right precautions — not shared or reused passwords, etc. — but then discovered an annoyingly simple way I could’ve prevented it. So let me share it with you and save you the pain.

When I got the notification, I immediately contacted Netflix support, who helped me out with the recovery. But in that process, I figured out that’s probably how the hacker got control of my account in the first place.

To ‘recover’ your account, all someone needs is your name, email, and card number. And sadly, my card details had been compromised a few days before, and although I had blocked it, that still didn’t stop the hacker from changing the email ID attached to my Netflix account.

But there’s a really simple way to protect yourself from this: add your phone number.

Here’s how you can do it:

  • Log in to your Netflix account from a web browser.
  • Click on your profile, and click on Account.
  • Head to the ‘Membership and Billing’ section, and click on Add phone number. If you’ve already added your phone number, you’ll see the ‘Change phone number option.
Netflix lets you add a phone number for additional verification during the account recovery
  • Select your country code, and add your phone number.
  • Enter the verification code you receive on your phone for verification.

Now that your phone number is added to the account, you can use it for password recovery or for verification while talking to Netflix customer support.

While most websites and accounts, including Twitter, Google, and Microsoft, have an option to enable two-factor authentication while logging in, Netflix hasn’t enabled this option.

There’s a chance that you might be sharing your Netflix account with other folks, but the company needs to give you the option of an additional layer of security to prevent unauthorized usage — and speaking from experience, I highly recommend it should. 

Published November 30, 2021 - 11:50 am UTC

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