Best Buy is the most impersonated company by scammers, FTC says


Here’s how to shield yourself from fraudsters, according to Pennsylvania State Police

Here’s how to shield yourself from fraudsters, according to Pennsylvania State Police

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If someone contacts you claiming to be a member of Geek Squad’s tech support team, they could be an impostor attempting to steal your money. Electronics retail giant Best Buy and its Geek Squad tech help division were the most impersonated brand in 2023, as per a new report from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Amazon and PayPal were the second and third most frequently mimicked companies, the agency noted. Fraudsters trick consumers through several channels, such as phone calls, emails, and social media, conning them out of over $1 billion annually. In 2023, consumers filed nearly 52,000 complaints about fraudsters pretending to be representatives from Best Buy or Geek Squad, according to the FTC. One method of contact was through email. “For instance, fake Geek Squad emails inform you that a computer service you never subscribed to is about to renew – costing you hundreds of dollars,” the FTC mentioned in a statement last week.  

Overall, consumers reported losing $15 million to Best Buy and Geek Squad-associated scams in 2023. “Our customers’ safety is immensely important to us. While scams are growing more sophisticated, we have a team of professionals and various resources devoted to preventing fraud and educating consumers, including how to identify warning signs and protect themselves,” Best Buy stated in a communication to CBS MoneyWatch.  

Best Buy also encouraged customers to report suspicious scams by calling the company’s support line. Although the majority of complaints were related to Best Buy and Geek Squad, consumers lost even more money to fraudsters posing as Microsoft and Publishers Clearing House. They reported losing a combined $109 million to Microsoft and Publishers Clearing House-related schemes, according to the FTC. Scammers also frequently posed as Amazon, PayPal, NortonLifeLock, Apple, Comcast Xfinity, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo.  

Consumers stated they were most often targeted via email and phone, but they also received several fake online shopping solicitations on social media platforms, including Facebook and Instagram. Avoiding scamsThe FTC suggested these tips for consumers to secure their money from scammers. Pause and reflect before paying someone you don’t know, particularly if they’re creating a fake sense of urgency. “Anyone pushing you to send money, purchase gift cards, or invest in cryptocurrency is almost certainly a scammer,” the FTC states on its website. Don’t click on links in unexpected messages, and don’t trust caller ID. Instead, contact the company through information available on its website. Authentic businesses will never insist on payment through gift cards, cryptocurrency, money transfer, or a payment app. Be cautious of anyone demanding payment in these manners.  
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Megan Cerullo

Megan Cerullo is a New York-based reporter for CBS MoneyWatch covering small business, workplace, health care, consumer spending, and personal finance topics. She frequently appears on CBS News 24/7 to discuss her articles.

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