The company has started using text and email to verify the identity of account holders.

If you’re currently watching Netflix with a password someone gave you, listen up. The entertainment company is testing a new way to thwart password pirates, once and for all. If you are using a password and don’t live in the same household as the primary account holder, you will get a pop-up message directing you to get your own account. It will give you an option to prove you are an account holder before cutting you off.

Password sharing has been commonplace since the invention of the first online streaming service. During the pandemic, the number of households using entertainment streaming reached record levels. But subscribing to multiple entertainment services can be expensive, leading people to share passwords in an effort to save money.

password graphic

Courtesy iStock

This new effort to block unauthorized users is also part of a subtle attempt to sign up new users. When a user logs in, Netflix will first ask them to verify their account by sending an email or text to the account holder, much like verifications used by other web services. If you can’t verify the account, Netflix will offer a trial account. The new verifications are not in use everywhere and it's not clear if Netflix is making everyone verify their account or is using some other method to identify password pirates.

So, how can you save money while watching your favorite movies and shows? First, decide which services you use the most and cut the ones you don’t watch that often. If you like to watch a certain series, you can unsubscribe until the next season starts or even wait until the season ends and binge it. To get you back, some companies will offer you a reduced rate for three to six months of service, so watch your email.

Are you one of the password pirates? Don't worry we won't tell. Tell us which online streaming service is the one you'll hate to lose.