In a perfect world, you could simply go to any business, give your personal information, pay for their product or service and then merrily go on your way. Unfortunately, wherever money is exchanged, there is potential for a scam to be created. Knowing this, you can prepare yourself to recognize the signs and red flags of any potential scams that may be sent your way.
7 Common Geek Squad Scams to Avoid
Scams are commonplace in commerce, especially with recognizable names in retail such as Best Buy. Their subsidiary Geek Squad provides technical support for appliances, computers and other electronics. This support includes repairs, protection and installation.
Though it is a valid support system offered through Best Buy, be aware there are many scams out there pretending to be part of Geek Squad that are bogus. Here are some common Geek Squad scams:
- Auto-renewal scam
- Protection plan scam
- Phishing email scam
- Overpayment scam
- Tech support scam
- Password reset scam
- Browser pop-up scam
1. Auto-renewal Scam
The Geek Squad auto-renewal scam works by sending you an email or text message claiming you have been signed up for a subscription service. The scammers will imply you owe hundreds, if not thousands of dollars unless you call the number provided to cancel. Once connected you will be asked to give your bank account or credit card information. Do not do so. Here are some signs that you were sent an auto-renewal phishing scam:
- You did not request the auto-renewal you received.
- You haven’t enlisted in Best Buy’s subscription service.
- The email address doesn’t have the Geek Squad logo.
- The email address, body of email or content of text message has grammatical errors.
- The phone number provided does not match the Best Buy phone number.
2. Protection Plan Scam
If you receive a phone call or email claiming to offer antivirus protection, tread lightly. Many scammers posing as technicians try to sell you either fake antivirus software tools that don’t work or worse, actually infect your computer with malware. The following are some protection plan scam red flags:
- The call or email trying to sell you antivirus software is unsolicited.
- The software or tool itself has no online reviews.
- The scammers ask for remote access to your computer.
3. Phishing Email Scam
Another antivirus software ruse is when you receive a call or email from someone claiming to be a Geek Squad technician notifying you that your computer has already been infected with malware. Pack your hook, line and sinker as you may be going phishing.
The fake technician will then give you a pressure-filled hard sell to download the antivirus software and solve the problem by giving them access to your computer remotely. Do not grant them access to your computer because if you do not only will they possibly download actual malware to spy on your computer but will also have access to anything you store on your computer including the following:
- Photos or videos
- Sensitive documents
- Social security numbers
- Personal data
- Online banking information.
4. Overpayment Scam
Overpayment scams, also known as accidental refund scams, are one of the most common scams out there. If you have ever received an email claiming you need to fill out a form to get a refund this may be a scam.
How the Scam Works
If you respond to the email you may be refunded an amount more than you were expecting, and then will be asked to wire back the difference. Not only will you be out extra money, but the entire amount as it originated from stolen funds. Don’t send them money and look for these other signs of a scam:
- The form you try to fill out isn’t working.
- You are asked for remote access to your computer so they can send the refund.
- You are sent a refund for more than what is stated on your bill.
5. Tech Support Scam
Geek Squad tech support scams are typically operated through phone calls. If you answer they will try to get you to send them money, but the only thing you will be buying or downloading is malware, which ironically is what they are claiming to help you prevent.
They will either say you owe money for services or that your device is already infected with malware and you need their help to fix it. Here are some other warning signs:
- The call is unsolicited as these companies rarely to never reach directly out by phone.
- The website you are sent to doesn’t seem quite right either visually or grammatically.
- The scammer posing as a technician is pushy and won’t let you off the phone.
6. Password Reset Scam
Best buyer beware if you receive an email alleging your password reset did not work. It will even include a link for you to reset your password. If you click on it, you will be sent to a website that looks like the login page for Best Buy, but beware — it is not. If you enter your login information, scammers could use this to make fraudulent purchases or possibly steal other important financial information. Here is what to look for:
- You are sent a password reset link when you don’t have a Best Buy account.
- When you click the link the site you are taken to isn’t secure.
- The site isn’t part of the official Bestbuy.com domain.
7. Browser Pop-up Scam
Pop-ups are always a nuisance but especially when they act as a Trojan horse for viruses. The browser pop-up scam misleads you into thinking your computer has been infected with a virus and you need to click on it to download antivirus software. The paradox is that if you do actually click on the pop-up, you inevitably download malware, ransomware or some other type of virus. Keep your eyes peeled for these red flags:
- Any pop-up claiming to detect a virus is a scam as no plugin can scan your device for such viruses.
- Any type of claim that involves cleaning your device is more than likely a scam.
- The pop-up is from an adult site.
What To Do if You Are a Victim of a Scam
Whether you are a victim of a Geek Squad scam, email scams from Geek Squad or another type of scam there are steps you can take to walk it back.
Freeze your credit card or bank account if you have share information with a questionable source. You should also change your login information to any corresponding accounts to which you have given details.
Lastly, always remember you don’t have to click on a link you find questionable or follow the instructions of someone you don’t trust.
Geek Squad Scam FAQHere are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Geek Squad scams.
- Can you get scammed by clicking on an email?
- Typically just opening an email won't make you vulnerable to scams, but if you click on a link provided in the email or follow other instructions in the phishing email you may get scammed.
- How do I report a scam email?
- You can report a scam email directly to Best Buy so they are made aware of what is being perpetrated in their name. You can either go through Geek Squad or customer service.
- What happens if you email back a scam email?
- Though it is not recommended you respond to anything you think might be a scam, as long as you didn't share login, credit card or bank account information or remote access to your computer you should be in the clear. However, if you feel your information has been compromised contact your bank and credit card company straight away.