The holiday season is fast approaching, and while we're all in the festive spirit, scammers are busy finding new ways to take advantage of our trust. In the digital age, one of the most dangerous types of scams is phishing, and these cybercriminals are getting sneakier by the day. The Better Business Bureau's Scam Tracker is buzzing with reports of a new phishing scam that's caught many off guard. Scammers are using the reputable names of Geek Squad and Norton to trick unsuspecting consumers into divulging their personal information. It's time to stay vigilant and protect yourself from these malicious actors.
The Geek Squad and Norton Scam
Since the beginning of 2021, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has received hundreds of reports about scams involving the Geek Squad and Norton brands. What's even more concerning is that a significant portion of these reports came from older adults, with 30 cases involving individuals aged 65 and above. So how are these scammers duping people? Well, they've come up with a clever plan.
You might receive an email, text message, or even a phone call that appears to be from Geek Squad or Norton. The message will claim that your subscription for tech support services has automatically renewed, and you're about to be charged for it. To cancel this supposed renewal, they'll direct you to call a specific number or fill out a form that requests your personal information. However, don't be fooled! The cancellation process is just a deceptive tactic scammers use to gain access to your financial accounts.
One victim of this scam shared their experience with the BBB, saying, "I received a text message stating that $359.00 would be deducted from my bank account for 'continued' Geek Squad computer cleaning services and that to cancel I needed to call the number listed. I purchased a laptop from Best Buy in July 2020 and thought that perhaps I did request Geek Squad Computer Protection when I bought it. When I called the number to cancel, I was carried through a series of things in which access to my bank information was utilized."
These scammers will stop at nothing to make a quick buck, even if it means tarnishing the good reputation that other businesses have built.
Protect Yourself from Tech Support Impostors
To safeguard your personal information and financial security during the holiday season, follow these steps to protect yourself from these impostors:
- Don't Be Afraid to Be Rude: If you receive a suspicious message or call, don't hesitate to hang up, ignore the text, or delete the email. Block the phone number or email address to prevent further contact.
- Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Stay organized by maintaining a list of your various subscriptions. Note when they renew and how the company typically contacts you. This way, you'll be less likely to fall for a scam.
- Look for Red Flags: Scammers might be skilled at pretending, but there's almost always a red flag if you look closely. Beware of generic greetings, unfamiliar email addresses, or odd phone numbers.
- Contact the Company Directly: Before taking any action in response to a message or call, reach out to the company using their official phone number or email address. This is a surefire way to verify the legitimacy of the communication.
- Raise Awareness: Lastly, help protect your friends and family from falling victim to these scams. According to an FTC report, seniors are frequently targeted by phone scams, which result in significant financial losses. Inform your loved ones about these types of scams, their warning signs, and what they should do if they encounter one.
Don't let scammers ruin the festive cheer. By following these steps and spreading the word, you can keep yourself and your loved ones safe from tech support impostors posing as Geek Squad and Norton. Happy and secure holidays to all!