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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Jon Robinson

Northern blocks passengers who try to cheat ticket checks in 'Netflix-esque' scam

Northern has blocked fraudsters who try to cheat ticket checks on its trains in a scam akin to 'Netflix password sharing'.

The operator has stopped fare evaders from being able to screenshot and share season tickets for others to use by introducing new barcode season tickets which 'live' within its app and update repeatedly throughout the day.

Customers are now also required to upload a profile photograph when purchasing a barcode season ticket.

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Northern said the tickets offer up to 33% off the regular cost of commuting between two stations on its network.

Commercial and customer Mark Powles said: "Our season tickets are no different to people’s gym memberships, store loyalty cards or indeed their Netflix account - they’re designed for use by the person whose name is on the bill.

"Whilst upwards of 95% of the journeys made on our network are by customers who do the right thing and buy a ticket before they travel – for the remaining 5% that are made by people who attempt to travel without paying their way, switching these particular sales to barcode season tickets will ensure only the device that made the purchase is able to satisfy checks by our conductors and ticket gatelines."

Netflix has said it will crack down on password sharing as a way to boost subscription numbers. Earlier this year, it unveiled plans to bring in a feature that stops users from sharing passwords with others - and means that anybody caught out by the feature will be blocked from watching TV.

It will offer an option to add "paid sharing" which is less than a full subscription - although over 100 million users will be affected by it. Confirming the news, Netflix said: "Later in Q1, we expect to start rolling out paid sharing more broadly. Today’s widespread account sharing (100M+ households) undermines our long term ability to invest in and improve Netflix, as well as build our business.

"While our terms of use limit use of Netflix to a household, we recognize this is a change for members who share their account more broadly," the streaming firm said." So we’ve worked hard to build additional new features that improve the Netflix experience, including the ability for members to review which devices are using their account and to transfer a profile to a new account.

"As we roll out paid sharing, members in many countries will also have the option to pay extra if they want to share Netflix with people they don’t live with. As is the case today, all members will be able to watch while traveling, whether on a TV or mobile device."

It comes as, at the end of last year, a government agency said that users of online streaming platforms such as Netflix could be breaking the law by sharing their account with other households.

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) said password sharing may amount to "secondary copyright infringement".

Disney+ does not allow users to share their password with other households, while Amazon Prime customers can share their account with one other person.


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