Consumer Catch-Up: Netflix rates, new phone scams, and borrowing to cover healthcare costs

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Netflix raises subscription rates

You're gonna get a bigger bill for your Netflix and chill.

Netflix, the video streaming company, is raising its rates for its US subscribers. The increase will be about $1 to $2, depending on your current plan. The basic plan will rise from $8 to $9 per month, the standard plan that includes HD streaming on two devices will go from $11 to $13 per month, and the price of its premium plan will increase from $14 to $16. These increases will take effect in May.

Netflix said that the increased revenue will allow them to add more content to their service.


New scam targets cell phone customers' accounts

You already know to be wary of scam calls that come through on your cellphone. Now, a new scam has fraudsters pretending to be your own cellphone company.

Law enforcement in Florida has reported several cases of scammers hacking into customer's cellphone accounts and attempting to purchase expensive phones on their account. The scammer found the victim's Verizon email address and sent them a message pretending to be from Verizon - ironically, telling the victim that their account had been subject to fraud. They then asked the victim for their account's PIN to verify their account. The scammer then used the PIN to reset the account's password, and took over the account.

If a customer receives this type of call, Verizon recommends contacting the company directly at 800-922-0204. In general, most companies will not ask you for your PIN to verify your identity, and if you suspect you're not talking to a legitimate company representative, hang up and call the phone numbers listed on their official website. Customers should not respond using the email addresses or phone numbers listed in a suspicious message. Finally, customers should make a habit of reviewing both their bills and their credit reports for any unauthorized activity.


Americans borrowing money, deferring treatment in order to pay for healthcare

Americans borrowed $88 billion last year to pay for basic healthcare, according to a new West Health and Gallup poll.

The resulting report, The U.S. Healthcare Cost Crisis, also found that American patients skipped treatments and cut back on other expenses in order to afford healthcare costs. 45 percent of respondents to the poll reported fears of bankruptcy if a major health event were to strike, with 1 in 4 skipping a medical treatment due to costs. 41 percent said they did not visit an emergency room due to cost.

While 64 percent of respondents said that they were "completely" or "mostly" satisfied with their experiences with the U.S. healthcare system, 75 percent agreed that they paid too much relative to the quality of the care they received. 76 percent also believed that the problem would only get worse due to rising healthcare costs.

According to Gallup's research, the United States had the highest healthcare costs in 2017 among the 36 nations reporting. All together, the total was $3.7 trillion, or $10,739 per American.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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