How to Protect Against the Geek Squad Scam in 2024

Tyler Cross
Tyler Cross Senior Writer
Updated on: June 24, 2024
Fact Checked by Sam Boyd
Tyler Cross Tyler Cross
Updated on: June 24, 2024 Senior Writer

Short on time? Here’s how to protect against the Geek Squad scam in 2024:

  1. Install a reliable antivirus. Install a good antivirus like Norton to protect against email phishing scams and fraudulent websites. If you’ve fallen victim to either of these, an antivirus will also remove the threats and clean your device. You can use Norton’s 60-day money-back guarantee to try it out risk-free.
  2. Run a full scan of your device. Use your antivirus to run a full scan of your device. This will analyze your files, searching for viruses or any strange activity. Once it’s done, your antivirus will quarantine all threats, and you can safely remove them.
  3. Use quality web protection tools. Good web protection tools will scan websites, links, and emails for scams and viruses to keep you safe while you browse. Norton, for example, comes with a secure browser, safe browsing extensions for every major browser, an online website checker, and a VPN with a built-in tracker blocker.

If Geek Squad members reach out to you don’t give them any information or money. They’re likely hackers impersonating legitimate Geek Squad employees to convince you to provide them with your information or click their malicious pop-up links. If you’ve already fallen victim to this scam, a good antivirus is the only way to protect yourself.

But not just any antivirus will do. Many antiviruses aren’t powerful enough to protect you from more complex scams. Less reputable antivirus companies use weak malware scanners and unreliable web protection tools, which might even put you at a higher risk of getting scammed!

I hand-tested dozens of antiviruses to find the best ones for beating the Geek Squad scam. While all of my top picks are good, Norton is my favorite thanks to its flawless malware scanner, excellent web protection, and various extra features. Since it comes with a risk-free 60-day money-back guarantee, you can try it out risk-free and ensure it works for you.

Threat name Geek Squad scam
Threat type Phishing
Devices affected Any device with internet access
Sources Emails claiming to be from Geek Squad, phone calls or voicemails impersonating Geek Squad representatives, fake Geek Squad websites, social media messages
Symptoms Unexpected emails or messages from people claiming to be Geek Squad members, requests for personal or financial information, pressure to act quickly to avoid charges, instructions to call a phone number or click on a link, suspicious-looking email addresses or website URLs
Damage Financial loss, identity theft, compromised personal information, unauthorized device access

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What Is the Geek Squad Scam?

The Geek Squad scam is a series of phishing scams made by hackers to steal your personal information or trick you into paying money. Cybercriminals will pretend to be employees from Best Buy’s subsidiary, Geek Squad. They’ll send you false invoices and fraudulent websites cleverly designed to trick you into sharing your personal information and financial details. Some might even lead you to install malware on your device that can cause permanent damage.

Here are a few of the common tactics that these Geek Squad scammers employ:

  • Auto-renewal requests. One tactic scammers use involves sending fraudulent emails asking you to set up auto-renewal for fake Best Buy subscriptions. These emails might look authentic but hackers design them to steal your details and capture your payment information.
  • Password reset prompts. Another deceptive method includes sending emails urging you to reset your Best Buy password. Clicking on the provided link often leads to a fake login page meant to harvest your credentials.
  • Call-to-confirm schemes. Some phishing emails request that you call a specific number to confirm certain transactions or unexpected invoices. These calls, however, connect to the scammer, not Geek Squad, putting you at risk of sharing sensitive details.
  • Malicious links and attachments. Scammers also embed malicious links and attachments in their emails. Clicking on these can result in malware being installed on your device, which might capture keystrokes or provide hackers with access to your personal files.
  • Vishing scams. Using this old-fashioned trick, scammers pretend to be Geek Squad representatives on voicemail. They might ask for account details, claim there’s an issue with your device, or offer unsolicited services, prompting you to call them and fall victim to the scam.
  • Infected files and browser extensions. Some Best Buy scams are initiated when users inadvertently download and install infected files or browser extensions. These can redirect you to scam websites, display fake alerts, or even spy on your online activities.

To protect against these tactics, use a reliable antivirus program like Norton and adopt safe online practices. Regularly updating your software and verifying communication directly with Geek Squad can reduce the risk.

How to Detect, Remove & Protect Against Geek Squad Scams (Step-by-Step Guide)

Step 1. Install Reliable Antivirus Software

Start by purchasing Norton (or another top antivirus). Install the antivirus onto your device and go through the setup options. After you’re done, you’ll be ready to protect yourself against scams, viruses, and other online threats.

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Step 2. Run a Full Antivirus Scan

If you think you’ve fallen victim to the Geek Squad scam, scan your system for malware. Your antivirus will remove any infected files and eliminate the root of the problem. Pop-ups, redirects, a slow computer, or apps you don’t recognize are all signs that you have malware.

Luckily, running a full scan with Norton is easy. Simply open the Device Security tab, click Full Scan, and start the scan. The scan may take up to an hour, but once it’s done, it’ll show you any files that are flagged as a threat — and you can remove them with one click.

Note: You can also choose to keep files you’re sure are safe, but if you’re a beginner it’s best to just let the antivirus remove anything it detects.

Step 3. Turn on Your Anti-Phishing Protection

Phishing attacks are the primary method hackers use to impersonate Geek Squad members, so you’ll need good web protection to identify them. For example, Norton’s phishing protection detected all phishing attacks in my tests — it found even more than Chrome or Firefox and blocked many deceitful websites aiming to steal my information.

Download Norton’s browser extension for your favorite browser or use its standalone secure web browser to stay safe. If using the browser extension, ensure you always have it turned on so you don’t accidentally stumble onto a malicious website.

Step 4. Uninstall Suspicious Browser Extensions

This step will vary depending on your browser. Open your web browser’s extension or add-on manager and look for extensions that you don’t recognize. If you find any, delete them immediately and run a full system scan using Norton. It’s not enough to simply disable them.

Once you’ve removed the suspicious extensions, be careful not to download any again. Many “free” downloads will bundle malicious browser extensions without you knowing.

Step 5. Uninstall Any Suspicious Applications on Your Device

Look through your device for any suspicious applications. If you’re using a mobile device, search through your apps, and if you’re on Windows, open up your Control Panel and click Uninstall a program. Likewise, Mac users can find suspicious apps using the built-in Finder tool. Browse through your applications and make sure you recognize all of them. Delete any you don’t and run a full system scan to check for malware.

Best Antiviruses for Protecting Against Geek Squad Scams in 2024

Quick summary of the best antiviruses for protecting against Geek Squad scams:

  • 🥇 1. Norton 360 — Best antivirus for protecting against Geek Squad scams and other threats in 2024.
  • 🥈 2. Bitdefender — Good choice for low-end devices (lightweight malware scanner + tons of extra features).
  • 🥉 3. TotalAV — Intuitive and beginner-friendly antivirus with great optimization tools.

Common Signs of a Geek Squad Scam

To be vigilant about Geek Squad scams, you need to know what you’re looking for! Here are the most common signs that hackers are attempting to scam you by impersonating Geek Squad members.

  • Unofficial email addresses. Scammers will email you claiming to be from the Geek Squad. However, their emails will always come from addresses that don’t match the official Best Buy or Geek Squad email. Remember that the Geek Squad will never reach out to you unprompted.
  • Unrecognizable phone numbers. Scammers might call from unfamiliar phone numbers or numbers that don’t match official contact numbers. Ignore phone calls from unrecognizable numbers.
  • Strange URLs: Scam messages may contain links to URLs that closely resemble but don’t exactly match the official Best Buy website. Hover over links to see where they lead before clicking. For example, you may see a URL containing phrases like Bstbuy.com or best-buy.com — these are always fraudulent websites.
  • Language used. Phishing messages can have poor grammar, misspellings, or vocabulary that feels out of place. Official communications are typically well-written and professional. Avoid responding to emails with blatant errors littering the page.
  • Pressure tactics. A common tactic that most scammers use is creating a sense of urgency, like threats of account closure or fines if you don’t act now. They may get frustrated with you quickly, but watch for the opposite: overly sweet flattery coupled with strange requests. Legitimate entities usually don’t employ such pressure tactics.
  • Unsolicited requests for information. Be wary if you receive messages asking for personal or financial details without prior context. Best Buy will never ask for sensitive information via email.
  • Generic greetings. Many scam emails start with generic greetings like “Dear Customer.” It’s a red flag if an official service you’re registered with doesn’t address you by your name.

Keep in mind that just knowing the signs won’t always protect you. You need a good antivirus like Norton with real-time protection, web protection, a firewall, and more to keep you safe from any viruses or phishing scams that fake Geek Squad impersonators try to deliver.

Common Types of Geek Squad Scams

The “Geek Squad scam” can come in a variety of forms, but each time it will be scammers attempting to impersonate Best Buy employees. Here are the most common ways these cybercriminals will attempt to scam you.

  • Email-phishing. Most Geek Squad scams come through email phishing scams. Hackers will send emails en masse, waiting for someone to respond and provide information or download the attachment they included in the email.
  • Fake websites. Many scammers build fake websites that look identical to the real Best Buy website so their Geek Squad pages look official while stealing your information. Double-check URLs to ensure they’re official, and only use HTTPS connections (check for a padlock in your web browser’s address bar).
  • Vishing. Scammers will call you, leave voicemails, or even text you while impersonating Geek Squad employees. Remember that the Geek Squad will never contact you first.
  • Malicious browser extensions. If you’ve downloaded a browser extension containing malware, you might notice your homepage changing, pop-ups, or even redirects to fake Best Buy websites. If you spot any of these or suddenly have a new search engine that you don’t remember changing to, uninstall any suspicious extension and run a full scan of your device.
  • Infected apps. Infected apps will give you malware as soon as you begin installing them. If you’re getting pop-ups from the Geek Squad that keep returning, you might have contracted a virus through one of your apps. Use Norton to scan your system for malware.

What to Do If You’ve Fallen For a Geek Squad Scam

If you’ve already fallen victim to a Geek Squad scam, don’t panic. Don’t give the scammer any more information or money under any circumstances. Immediately disconnect your device from the internet and follow these steps.

  • Scan your devices for malware. Run a thorough malware scan on your device using a reliable antivirus like Norton. In my tests, Norton was able to detect and remove all malware samples on my system.
  • Use an antivirus with phishing protection. Web protection tools stop you from entering fraudulent websites and will prevent you from inadvertently causing more damage to your device.
  • Change your passwords. Updating your passwords is crucial, especially if you’ve already shared any credentials. I recommend using strong, unique passwords for each account. If you’ve reused the same password on multiple accounts, change all of them. A good password manager can help with this step.
  • Contact your financial institutions. If you provided bank or credit card details, inform your bank or card provider. They can monitor your account for suspicious activities and replace your card.
  • Enable multi-factor authentication. Enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA) on your accounts adds an extra layer of security, making unauthorized access more challenging.
  • Monitor your credit. Consider signing up for a credit monitoring service. These services can alert you to changes in your credit report, helping to detect any unauthorized accounts opened in your name. Some antiviruses, including Norton, have specialized plans that include credit monitoring for US users.
  • Report the scam. Inform local law enforcement about the scam and submit details of it to online fraud reporting platforms. Sharing your experience can prevent others from falling for similar tricks.
  • Be wary of follow-up scams. Sometimes, scammers might try to target you again, claiming they can “help” recover your losses from the initial scam. This is another scheme used by online vultures to pick at victims after their initial loss.

These steps can help mitigate the damage caused by the Geek Squad scam and safeguard you from future scams. Remember that a good antivirus suite will provide you with a malware scanner, real-time protection, web protection, dark web monitoring, and more.

How to Protect Against Geek Squad Scams & Other Email Scams

To protect yourself against Geek Squad scams, follow these steps:

  • Check URLs carefully: Malicious websites often use URLs that closely mimic legitimate ones. Always verify the URL before entering personal details.
  • Avoid suspicious links and downloads. Be cautious of links or downloads from untrusted sources. Unless you have a good antivirus, once you start downloading the file it’s already too late to stop the malware from spreading.
  • Don’t download email attachments recklessly. I recommend always scanning email attachments with an antivirus like Norton or Bitdefender before downloading them — especially if they’re from unknown senders.
  • Use web protection tools. Our top antiviruses contain web protection tools like safe browser extensions or secure web browsers to keep you safe while online.
  • Block and report scammers. If you identify a scam email, block the sender and report the email to your service provider. Doing this helps filter out similar threats in the future.
  • Regularly update software. Updating your software, drivers, and operating system ensures you benefit from the latest security patches. Make sure that your apps, software, browsers, and drivers are up-to-date. A good antivirus will include a vulnerability scanner to help automate this process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a free antivirus protect you against the Geek Squad scam?

Yes and no: a free antivirus can offer protection against the Geek Squad scam, and companies like Norton and Bitdefender offer excellent free web protection tools. However, they won’t protect you from every type of Geek Squad scam.

Furthermore, free antiviruses will usually be less powerful than their premium counterparts — on top of that, less reputable companies will lie about how good their malware scanners are. Plus, free products lack most of the extra features that protect you online, like a firewall, a VPN, a dark web monitor, or any other features you’d get in a premium suite like Norton.

What do web protection tools do?

Web protection tools protect you from malicious websites and online threats, including most forms of the Geek Squad scam. These tools work by analyzing website URLs and content in real-time while comparing the results against databases of known scams. Some even employ AI to help identify threats that haven’t been caught yet.

Norton also includes a secure web browser, which I found easy to use, and it blocked more malicious websites than Chrome or Firefox. While this may not protect you from Geek Squad scans acquired through malicious file downloads or browser extensions (you’ll need the full antivirus package for that), it’ll prevent you from falling victim to phishing scams or fraudulent Geek Squad websites.

What can happen if I fall victim to a Geek Squad scam?

Falling victim to a Geek Squad scam can lead to financial losses or identity theft. Scammers may gain access to personal or financial information, install malicious software, or deceive you into paying for unnecessary services.

Since this scam can come in a variety of forms (i.e. phishing emails, fake websites, malicious extensions, cold calls, etc.), it’s essential to use quality antivirus software to protect yourself and always pay attention to websites you visit, emails you read, and files you download.

How do I scan an email for viruses?

An antivirus like Norton will provide you with real-time protection against email malware. Whenever you attempt to download a malicious attachment, Norton’s real-time protection will kick in, scan it automatically, and prevent malware from being installed on your device.

That said, it’s still best to be vigilant; if you have any worries about an email, it’s best to err on the side of caution and not to interact with it at all. If you received a suspicious email from the Geek Squad, it’s worth checking out this guide to see if it’s safe before opening it.

What types of phishing scams are there?

There are numerous phishing scams and each is designed to deceive users. Some prevalent types include:

  • Email-based scams: Attackers send deceptive emails, often with malicious links or attachments. These emails can convincingly mimic legitimate communications.
  • Fake website logins: Sites designed to mirror genuine ones, tricking users into providing their credentials.
  • Vishing (voice phishing): Scammers use phone calls, impersonating trustworthy entities to extract information. The “Geek Squad” may call you, informing you of a large charge they need to refund or an unrealistic offer requiring your information.

In all of these cases, double-check the official Best Buy website to see if it’s actually their phone number or email — and remember, the company will never reach out to you first.

Best Antiviruses for Protecting Against Geek Squad Scams — Final Score:

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About the Author
Tyler Cross
Tyler Cross
Senior Writer
Updated on: June 24, 2024

About the Author

Tyler is a writer at SafetyDetectives with a passion for researching all things tech and cybersecurity. Prior to joining the SafetyDetectives team, he worked with cybersecurity products hands-on for more than five years, including password managers, antiviruses, and VPNs and learned everything about their use cases and function. When he isn't working as a "SafetyDetective", he enjoys studying history, researching investment opportunities, writing novels, and playing Dungeons and Dragons with friends."

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