The Geek Squad Email Scam: What Is It? How to Prevent It
Have you gotten a confirmation email from Geek Squad for a purchase you didn't make? This could be a con. Here is what to do.
If you've received an email claiming to be from Geek Squad informing you of a transaction made on your account, but you don't recall buying anything, this is likely part of the Geek Squad email scam. You might have heard about it already from friends or colleagues, but what exactly is the Geek Squad email scam?
So how exactly does this con operate? How can you keep from being a victim of it? And if you do become a victim, what should you do?
The Geek Squad scam is an email scam where cybercriminals send a fake email pretending it is an official transaction confirmation from Geek Squad, a subsidiary of Best Buy, a well-known multinational consumer electronics company. The email contains information regarding a subscription renewal or an order that recipients are unaware of.
Scammers use fake invoice numbers, renewal dates, and other order details to make the email appear genuine. They use official logos and promotional banners to make the email look legit, ensuring their target believes them. Furthermore, scammers include their numbers and tell recipients to contact them if they need assistance with their order.
The targets panic when told about a large transaction and call the scammers quickly to find out more about the transaction or cancel it in time. After that, the scam can take several forms, but the cybercriminals' end goal is to extract as much money as possible from their victims.
As soon as the recipient calls the listed number, scammers claim that a transaction has taken place from their account. To fool their victims, scammers explain that they can cancel the transaction. As a natural reaction to that suggestion, the recipients agree.
To begin with, they ask recipients for their personal details—but officials should never ask for private data like credit card details, social security numbers, etc. on the phone.
Old-school scammers sometimes explain to their targets that they cannot cancel subscriptions from their end and must access the recipient's computer to do so. The cybercriminal may claim that a strange PC problem led to this transaction. They suggest giving them remote access to your computer to fix the issue because they fear it may happen again.
Once their targets grant them access, they are at the scammers' mercy with how far they will go to scam them. They may make huge bank transactions, install malicious software to scam recipients again, ask for payment for remote support they have provided, or charge "cancellation fees".
Follow these tips and checks to distinguish a scam email from an original, real one:
Check the email content for spelling or grammar errors.
Inspect the scammer's email address and see if it contains the misspelled company name or if it looks pretty generic and so not official.
Check if the scammer addressed you by name. It's a scam if no name is mentioned anywhere, or you are only addressed as "Dear Sir/Madam."
Never click on links in emails. If you're not sure, use a link-checking website to make sure they don't redirect you to a random, unofficial address.
Is the transaction in the same currency as your bank account? The email is likely from a scammer if it's different.
Subscribers usually have a seven-day period to cancel their subscriptions. Be wary of emails that tell you to contact them within one to two days—the scammer is trying to cause you to panic and make a mistake.
Is the email you received from Geek Squad sent to the same email address you signed up with?
Check if this is a scam by confirming that no transaction has been made from your bank account.
If you have received an email supposedly from Geek Squad and have concerns that it might be a scam, you have done half the job of avoiding it.
Whatever you do, don't send personal details via email or any other medium, and certainly don't reply to the same email or call the number given.
You need to follow basic techniques to avoid falling for scams, notably: don't click on links, and don't download attachments. Raise awareness of the scam—but don't forward the email on, in case someone else actually falls for it. In fact, your best bet is to delete the email altogether.
If you share the computer with someone else, block the sender to prevent them from mistakenly falling victim to the scam.
To sum it up, then, ignoring the Geek Squad scam email and blocking the sender is the best way to avoid it.
What to Do if You Become Victim of the Geek Squad Email Scam
In case you become a victim of the Geek Squad email scam, here is what you should do:
Don't act on anything they tell you to do if you have only spoken with the scammers.
To avoid scammers contacting you again, block the number you just called.
Call your bank and freeze your funds if you've shared your personal data, such as credit card information.
Check your computer for viruses if you've downloaded software or any files from the email.
You shouldn't use the same login details on numerous accounts, but many people do anyway. Change your login details immediately if you have signed up using a link scammers sent you using your email address.
To prevent scammers from recording you, temporarily disable your webcam if it's enabled.
Avoid the Geek Squad Email Scammers
You should now be aware of scammers' traps and won't fall victim to them. As you do your best to protect yourself, it's equally important to raise awareness among your family and friends.
The red flags above, showing you how to spot a Geek Squad email scam, also apply to other phishing scams. So watch out for them and avoid them at all costs.