How to check if someone's secretly using your Netflix account

Get. Out. Of. My. Account.

Image: AntonioGuillem/Getty

Your Netflix is a personal space. What you watch, when you watch it, and how often you watch it can reveal a lot about you. The last thing you want is someone poking around your account, checking your viewing habits, and drafting off your hard-earned $10.99-a-month for free access. 

And yet people steal Netflix all the time. Whether it’s a jilted lover, an old college roommate, or an estranged family member — there are all too many people out there who may be able to use your account and see what you’ve been streaming. Sure, the easiest solution is to change your password, but that won’t tell you if someone’s been creeping. 

Thankfully, there’s an easy way to do just that. 

Spotting the freeloader

In order to catch someone in the act, you have to look first. So let’s look. Log into your account, select your user name, then select “Account” from the dropdown menu in the upper-right corner. Next, scroll down to “Viewing activity,” and tap that mouse button hard.

While in the “Viewing activity” page, click on the “See recent account access” link. This will take you to a page displaying all kinds of information related to logins: date and time, location, IP address, and device types.

Now, here’s where some very basic detective works comes in. First, find out your own IP address with a simple IP lookup (you can literally just Google “my ip”). You should see that address listed a lot under the “Location” column in Netflix. That’s you using your own account, so no worries there. 

Next, check for weird locations or IP addresses that don’t match your own. See something from another state — the same state your no-good ex-boyfriend just moved to? That’s a red flag. See stuff from your state, but with a different IP? Try a service like ipinfo — it should at least help you pin it down to the city. 

Lastly, and this is perhaps the most obvious way to identify weirdness, scan the “Device” column. Any odd items on there? Does it list a “Smart TV” when you’ve never used one? If so, someone else is likely in your account. 

Keeping things hidden

Now, I know what you’re thinking: Wouldn’t I know if someone is using my account? And sure, if the person doing so is sloppy and, say, a huge anime fan (and you’re not), you may start getting recommendations outside of your typical content milieu. 

But you might not, also. That’s because Netflix allows you to manually delete watch history — one video at a time. To do so, simply navigate your way back to the aforementioned “Viewing activity” page. What you’ll see is a list of everything watched under that user profile. Next to each video is an “X” — once selected, Netflix tells you that the show/movie/whatever “will be removed from your viewing activity on all devices within 24 hours.”

Someone using your account who really wanted to fly under the radar would be sure to remove each and every thing he or she watched — immediately after viewing it. That way, you wouldn’t see those “Continue watching” messages for shows that you’ve never actually seen. And, of course, the illicitly streamed shows wouldn’t remain in the “Viewing activity” section for you to one day stumble across. 

Pretty dastardly, right?

Freedom from creepers

But now, thanks to your handy-dandy newfound knowledge, even the sneakiest freeloaders won’t be able to slip past your watchful eye. And if someone has been accessing your account? Go ahead and change your Netflix password. Oh, and while you’re at it, change any passwords that you might have ever shared with anyone ever (really). 

There. Don’t you feel better now knowing that the only person creeping on your Netflix viewing habits is some unnamed Netflix employee? Yeah, we thought so. 

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