Geek Squad Scam – How to Recognize and Avoid It

Tech support scams increased to $347 million in 2021 in the US; this is almost a 137% increase compared to 2020. Scammers offering to help with inexistent technological solutions were reported worldwide. One of the leading and costliest scams is the Geek Squad scam.

In an ideal world, you would do your business, giving away your personal and payment details with no qualms. After all, you won’t have to worry about anything in a perfect world. However, we aren’t living in a perfect world, are we? The ugly truth is that a scam can happen, especially when personal information is involved.

What is a Geek Squad Scam? 

Technical support crime losses in the US 2017-2021 (Source: Statista).
Technical support crime losses in the US 2017-2021 (Source: Statista).

Geek Squad, a subsidiary of Best Buy, offers computer and consumer electronics services in-store, on-site, and online, with 24-hour telephone and on-site emergency support. Best Buy and its tech team have a solid reputation and are widely go-to places. 

It is no wonder that scammers target the Geek Squad. After all, the Geek Squad is widely used across the US, so chances are high that someone will fall prey. 

A Geek Squad scam is when criminals pose as Best Buy’s tech support team and reach out for devices, accounts, or applications-related matters. However, the goal is to steal your personal information, commit fraud, or gain remote access to your devices. Simply put, it is a dangerous impersonation scam to get money out of victims.

The scam is simple to execute, has low costs, and with endless variations to target different people. It's also popular since there are minimal risks and possible high rewards. People often get stumped by tricky tech problems and turn to pros like the Geek Squad for help. However, what IF the ‘trusty' helpers aren’t so trustworthy?

How a Geek Squad Scam Works

The real Geek Squad is a subsidiary of Best Buy.
The real Geek Squad is a subsidiary of Best Buy.

There’s no fixed version of the Geek Squad scam. Whatever it is, the ultimate goal is the same – to suck you dry via trickery and deceit. Geek Squad scammers usually reach out via emails, text messages, phone calls, or even fake websites, posing as ‘legitimate' Geek Squad workers. 

Most of the Geek Squad scams come in the form of phishing emails. The emails are written convincingly with official logos to look legit with the express purpose of confusing and frightening you into action. The email contains fake invoice numbers, renewal dates, phone numbers, and links. 

Once you make contact, they’ll tell you a convincing story (your device is compromised, a transaction has taken place, you owe money for a subscription, confirm your identity by providing personal details, and more). Once you are hooked, the scammer asks for your details (personal information, payment details, and more). 

Some versions attempt to get you to grant remote access to them. Once they’re in, your devices are infected with malware or a tool to control your device. The imposter will not stop there; your accounts will be emptied as they continue to ‘extort’ more from you.

Geek Squad Scam Examples

Knowledge is power, and familiarizing yourself with the worst Geek Squad scams can help you avoid them:

1. Geek Squad Auto-Renewal Scam

Scammers send alarming renewal messages to rattle you (Source: FTC).
Scammers send alarming renewal messages to rattle you (Source: FTC).

Perhaps, one of the most dangerous Geek Squad scams out there is the auto-renewal scam. This scam informs you that you were or will be charged to renew your Geek Squad membership. If you want to dispute or cancel your membership, you must do something within 24 hours. Either you call the provided number or click the link in the email.

The intention is to make you panic and not think twice. Once you give in, everything about you will be wide open for the scammer to exploit. In short, you allow the scammer to guide you into being scammed. 

2. Phishing Emails

The con artist pretends to be a Geek Squad tech specialist and reaches out to you to inform you that your device is infected with malware.

The plan is to frighten you into action so you either click a link or call them. Once you make that call, they will either pressure you into buying their ‘anti-malware’ OR gaining remote access to your device to install the ‘solution'.

Either way, you’re permitting these imposters to wreak havoc on your device. Instead of ‘resolving’ a non-existent issue, they create a real problem and have a field day with your information. Also, some install ransomware on your device and extort you for more money.

3. Geek Squad Tech Support Scam

Most of us are not tech geeks, so whenever we hit a device issue, we need help. While some of us can self-help by researching online, others rely on tech specialists to resolve the issue. Hence, when imposters contact the latter, offering discounted support services from the Geek Squad, many jump at it.

When you follow the instructions to call them to set an appointment, the scammer will require your credit card to book the appointment slot; this is where the scammer starts to siphon your money.

Others will include a seemingly legit-looking link to confirm your appointment. However, you’ll be taken for a ride elsewhere at a fake website that steals your information. 

4. Geek Squad Password Reset Scam 

One of the Geek Squad scams involves receiving an email informing you that your password reset was unsuccessful. Another version will request you to reset your Best Buy password for security reasons. Either way, the email will include a password reset link, prompting you into action.

Also, the email’s tone sounds urgent, ‘threatening’ you into action by a time to avoid service interruption. You worry you cannot access Best Buy, so you click the link immediately. Beware, as these links are fake, leading you to a phishing website (similar to Best Buy’s) to scam you of your login information. 

The con artists will then make fraudulent purchases or steal your other important financial information. Sometimes, these links can even contain malware that infects your device once you click it.

5. Geek Squad Browser Pop-up Scam

While browsing, you may encounter a pop-up claiming that your device has been infected with hacking software or viruses and requires immediate action. The pop-up also tells you to contact the Geek Squad at the number on the screen to get it fixed. Sometimes, instead of a number, the pop-up includes a link for you to click and download a ‘device cleaner’ to remove the malware.

Nobody likes having malware lurking in their device. Since they are familiar with the Geek Squad, they take action. When you make that call, the scammer frightens you into surrendering your personal information for further action or granting permission to remote access your device. 

Or you click the included link in the pop-up and inevitably download malware, keylogger, or ransomware. A non-issue turns into a massive issue.

6. Overpayment Scam

Another common Geek Squad scam is the overpayment or accidental refund scam. The imposter sends an email claiming you paid extra for your Geek Squad subscription. You fill up a form to get a refund for the additional payment. However, the online form will not work, so you contact the number in the email.

The ‘support’ personnel requests remote access to your device to finalize the refund procedure. From here, several versions play out. They either install keyloggers or malware into your device and wreak havoc, or they ‘accidentally’ refunded you more than they should.

They’ll then require you to return the difference to their account or send gift cards. 

However, in reality, the overpayment never happened. What you saw were only smoke and mirrors appearing as they did. So, if you obeyed and paid them back the difference, you’d be left with much less money in your pocket.

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What to Do if You Become a Scam Victim

No matter how careful you are on the internet, nobody is 100% safe from scams. So, what should you do if you fall prey to a Geek Squad scam? 

  • Collect Everything as Evidence: Before you remove all communications with the scammer, check through and gather as much evidence as you can. Save them systematically in chronological order for easier understanding. Having a backup helps. Doing so will help your case when you approach the authorities. 
  • Freeze the Relevant Accounts: Once scammed, you’ll never know what information the scammers stole and will steal. Hence, freeze all your bank accounts, block your cards, and suspend any unauthorized activities on your account. 
  • Remove Any Applications Installed by The Scammer: After disconnecting from the internet, check through your device thoroughly for anything unusual. Delete all applications by scammers to remove their access from your device. 
  • Run Anti-malware Scans: Launch your updated antivirus to catch any lingering malware. Some malware hides deep, so run a deep scan. You want to locate and root any malware out to reduce further damage.
  • Change Your Passwords: You should reset all your passwords across the board. Use only strong, unique, and virtually uncrackable passwords with at least 8-16 mixed characters. Never recycle the same password. You do not want a situation where all your other accounts become compromised when the ONE password is compromised.
  • Report to The Authorities: If you fall prey to a Geek Squad scam, report it to your local law enforcement, the Federal Trade Commission, or the Internet Crime Complaint Center. The authorities will investigate cases against those responsible. 
  • Call Best Buy: Geek Squad and Best Buy have dedicated helplines for their scam victims. Call them at 1-888-BEST BUY (1-888-237-8289) to report any scams. 

How to Avoid Geek Squad Scams

Geek Squad scams are among the many tech support scams rampant today. Hence, pay attention and be alert at all times. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Best Buy and Geek Squad do not make unsolicited calls. Don’t immediately respond to unsolicited messages or phone calls. Verify them first.
  • Learn to recognize the telltale signs of a Geek Squad scam. 
  • Do not click anything on unsolicited emails/pop-ups.
  • Do not call the included phone numbers on such unsolicited emails/pop-ups.
  • Trusted brands do not ask for your personal or payment-related information via email/phone.
  • Do not surrender remote access to your device.
  • Do not share your personal information, including passwords.
  • Enable a trusted antivirus on your device.
  • Always verify with Best Buy’s legitimate contact at 1-888-BEST BUY (1-888-237-8289); use only official contact methods found directly on

Wrapping Up

Ignorance is not bliss. Cybercrime and fraud scams are serious issues. The repercussions can not only be financially damaging but also psychologically draining. Anyone can fall prey to these costly scams, especially without knowing the facts. 

Arm yourself with the necessary knowledge and check out the worst Geek Squad scams as above so you know how to avoid them.

Helen Chan

Helen Chan is a dedicated mother and fan of movie streaming. Her love of Netflix led to a life in pursuit of digital freedom, boldly attempting to explore everything blocked online for no good reason.

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