What is the Geek Squad Scam?

The Geek Squad is a legitimate company, also known as a subsidiary of a massive electronics corporation, Best Buy. However, in recent years, scammers have been using its name to steal hundreds of dollars by orchestrating a phishing scam – the Geek Squad email scam.

In said emails, scammers pretend to be legitimate tech support for Geek Squad, offering to help users with devices, applications, or account problems. For extra pay, of course.

While a few red flags should jump out immediately after you look at the Geek Squad scam email, these phishing messages are luring.

Unfortunately, scammers have exploited Best Buy’s Geek Squad’s legit efforts to help customers with their tech woes and are getting more sophisticated daily.

So, what exactly is the Geek Squad scam, how can you avoid it, and can antivirus software help? Let’s find out.

What is the Geek Squad Email Scam?

The Geek Squad scam is a phishing scam where malicious actors impersonate the Geek Squad tech support service and send rogue emails, hoping that unsuspecting victims will share sensitive personal information.

The fraudsters make the tech support scam emails look genuine by:

  • Using fake information,
  • Mimicking billing data,
  • Sending fake invoices,
  • Emailing unexisting renewal dates.

Once they make contact, they’ll try to push you to download an infected attachment, click on malicious links, “confirm” your identity, or provide other sensitive information.

How Does the Geek Squad Email Scam Work?

The Geek Squad email scammers run several types of phishing attempts. Some of the most popular ones include:

Auto-Renew Scams

In a Geek Squad renewal scam, the scammers mimic Best Buy’s auto-renewal service and send you an email warning you that you’ll be automatically charged to renew your membership.

They might threaten that you’ll lose a lot of money and urge you to cancel the renewal by:

  • Sending your credit card details
  • Sharing your social security number (SSN)
  • Calling the provided phone number within 24 hours

The email might look like this:

A sample email of what the Geek Squad renewal scam looks like

Phishing Emails

Other times, cybercriminals send the Geek Squad scam emails with links or attachments that contain malware.

In the phishing email, the scammers will scare you that your device has a malware infection and, hence, will offer antivirus software links to download.

If you click on such an attachment or link, you’ll download malware that grants attackers access to your device.

Fake Billing Scam

In some attacks, the imposters mimic the Geek Squad payment confirmation or services. They’ll include a telephone number in the email that the target victim can call to dispute the fictitious charge.

You will likely call the number since you didn’t pay the invoice.

The phone number will connect you to a rogue Geek Squad representative who will walk you through resolving the mistaken payment. In the process, the scammer will try to dupe you into downloading an application granting remote control of your computer.

With remote access, the attackers can inject malware into your computer and execute more malicious activities.

Invoice Fraud

Geek Squad invoice fraud is a well-coordinated type of scam that aims to lure users into paying a fake or legitimate invoice to a phony account.

The huge returns on invoice fraud have resulted in sophisticated attacks. Scammers are moving away from traditional phishing emails to socially engineered email attacks.

For instance, attackers can hijack an employee’s account and gain access to all clients, their email accounts, previous transactions, banking information, and invoices. Then, they’ll use the compromised account to email clients and vendors with fake invoices and new payment details.

Password Reset Scam

Cybercriminals can also send fake Best Buy password reset emails. The attacker might email you that your attempt to reset your password wasn’t successful.

The scammers will offer a link, as with any other password reset email. However, this will lead to a phishing site that looks like a legit Best Buy page. If you input your login information on the fake website, scammers will use it to log into your original account and steal your information.

How To Identify a Fake Geek Squad Email?

If you’ve received a Geek Squad email but aren’t sure whether it’s real or not, some telltale signs may help you identify a fake Geek Squad email.

  • Fake email address – Scammers use a modification of the official email or a generic one that has nothing to do with Geek Squad. Counter-check the sender’s email address with the one on the official site.
  • Spelling and grammatical errors – Most scammers leave typos and grammatical errors in the email. Check for sloppiness in the way the email was crafted.
  • Request for personal information – The Geek Squad’s tech support team will never ask you for financial or personal data via email or text. Emails that ask for personal information should indeed be a red flag.
  • Missing small details – Check if the sender addresses you by your name or if they are only using generic greetings like “Dear sir or madam.” Addressing you with a generic salutation should raise concerns.
  • Questionable support email – Check the customer support email address you’re redirected to. If the email doesn’t match the official one on the service website, treat it as a scam.
  • Unmatching currency – Inspect if the transaction currency matches the one you used to order the Geek Squad service. If not, the email is likely from a scammer.
  • A public email domain – No established business will send you an email from an address that ends with @outlook, @gmail, or any other public domain. If you receive an email from an address that isn’t affiliated with Geek Squad, it’s a scam.
  • Suspicious attachments or links – A phishing email comes with either an infected attachment or a link to a malicious website. If you suspect a link or an attachment, you can verify it for free online with tools like VirusTotal.
  • A sense of urgency in the message – Scammers know people procrastinate. And the longer you wait, the more likely you’ll notice something sketchy. That’s why many scammers ask you to act immediately, or it’ll be too late.

How Can You Report Fake Geek Squad Emails?

If you have encountered a Geek Squad phishing email, you should report it to stop further scam attempts. There are several ways you can report phishing attempts.

  • Report it to your email service provider. You can do this by clicking the “Report spam” or “Report Phishing” button in the scam email you received. Your email provider will filter such emails for you and other users in the future.
  • Notify the real Geek Squad customer service about the phishing attempts. The company will notify other users and prevent the fraud from spreading.
  • Forward the phishing email to organizations that track and fight phishing. Send the fake email to the Anti-Phishing Working Group ([email protected]) or your country’s equivalent organization. Report the phishing emails to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). Forward the email address to [email protected].
  • If the phishing attempt is work-related, then report it to your employer or IT department. They will take steps to protect the organization and its employees.

How To Avoid Geek Squad Email Scam?

The best way to avoid Geek Squad email scams is to take preventative measures, like:

  • Verify the email address is from the genuine Geek Squad support team.
  • Don’t click on links or attachments from strange email addresses. If in doubt, then run the link or file on free online tools like VirusTotal.
  • Use reliable antivirus. A good antivirus tool like TotalAV, with real-time protection and a malware removal tool, can monitor your emails and protect your device from malware infection, adware, and other threats.
  • Block scammers. If Geek Squad scammers keep sending you suspicious emails, block the email sender.
  • Contact genuine Geek Squad support when in doubt. If you receive emails and aren’t sure if it’s a phishing attempt, contact the company directly. Go to the official Geek Squad website and find customer service by email or phone.
  • Update your operating system and apps. Keeping your system updated ensures you have the latest security patch for vulnerabilities that scammers might try to exploit.

What to Do if You’ve Fallen Victim to Geek Squad Scam?

Like other victims of cyber attacks, it’s easy to wonder what the next step is after your details have been compromised in a Geek Squad scam.

You can take some steps to control the damage from the attack, protect your future, and stop other people from becoming victims.

  • Change the password of the affected account to block any unauthorized access to your account.
  • Report the incident to the Geek Squad. The company will take the initiative to prevent future phishing attacks by alerting its customers.
  • Scan your device for malware. If you have opened the email or even a link on it, then run a full anti-virus or anti-malware scan to check if malicious software was installed during the phishing attack.
  • Review other online accounts under the compromised email. Check for suspicious activity in other accounts you registered with your email and change the password if you use a similar one.
  • Alert your contacts about the attack. If the attacker accesses your email contact information, they might send malicious messages to your contact list. So if you have been hacked, then alert them to prevent the spread of phishing attacks.
  • Watch out for identity theft. Some phishing attacks can steal enough information to run fraud activities under your name. For instance, if the attacker steals your phone number, birth date, and Social Security, they can take out new credit cards, install a SIM swap, or execute other kinds of fraud. Check for identity theft signals, such as a new credit card you didn’t apply for, unexpected financial transactions, unfamiliar medical bills, new credit cards you didn’t apply for, and suspicious login attempts.

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Mary Kihoro
Cyber Security Expert

Mary is a seasoned cybersecurity and blockchain writer at Techopedia. Her years of experience in the field help her craft concise and engaging content in diverse fields such as VPNs, Password Managers, cryptocurrencies, AI, and diverse web3 topics. Over the years, she’s inked catchy pieces for Bybit, VPN Mentor, Crypto Digest, Captain Altcoins, Brain Manager, and Strive Marketing among other prominent brands and websites.