Uncovering the Geek Squad Email Scam Stealing Money and Data

The Geek Squad email scam is a devious phishing campaign that cybercriminals are using to target unsuspecting victims. This scam leverages the brand recognition of Geek Squad, a popular technology service company and subsidiary of electronics retailer Best Buy, to add legitimacy to fraudulent emails sent out en masse.

These fake Geek Squad emails regarding fake unpaid invoices, subscription renewals, or recent orders are designed to alarm recipients and trick them into contacting the scammers directly. By impersonating a trusted company, the criminals behind this scam are able to manipulate worried recipients into providing sensitive personal information and even granting remote access to their devices. Falling victim can result in stolen funds, compromised accounts, and extensive identity theft.

This article will provide an in-depth examination of how the Geek Squad email scam operates, techniques for identifying fraudulent messages, steps to take if you fell for the scam, and ways to protect yourself going forward.

Overview of the Geek Squad Email Scam

The Geek Squad scam follows the blueprint of many phishing campaigns. The cybercriminals’ goal is to trick recipients into providing sensitive information or payments. They do this by sending emails that appear to come from a trustworthy source.

These fraudulent messages often include:

  • Subject lines regarding a subscription renewal, unpaid invoice, or recent order
  • Official logos and branding from Geek Squad and Best Buy
  • Details like a fake order number, item purchased, payment amount, etc.
  • A call to action encouraging the recipient to contact the sender

The email will request the recipient takes urgent action regarding an order or transaction they are unaware of. Alarmed at the prospect of an unauthorized charge, many recipients react quickly by calling the number included in the scam message.

This call begins the process of extracting money or information from the victim. The approaches scammers use can vary, but often involve:

  • Obtaining personal information like credit card details
  • Convincing the victim to grant remote access to their computer
  • Charging excessive fees for unnecessary tech support services
  • Downloading malware that compromises the victim’s device and data

Here are some common Geek Squad scam emails, including the grammatical and spelling errors:

Geek Squad Subscription Renewal
INVOICE
Geek United States

Geek Squad Subscription Renewal Inc.
7601 Penn Avenue, South Richmond, MN 55423 USA
Toll Free Helpline 1(888) 632-2710

Invoice Number: #5545455
Invoice Date:
Payment Due:
Amount Due (USD): $349.85

Items Quantity Price Amount
Geek Drive Anti Drive 1 $349.85 $349.85
Total: $389.56
Amount Due (USD): $389.56

Notes and Termos & Condition
Your Payment for Geek Anti Drive Services has been purchased. The charge of purchase will appear in your account in next 24-48 hours. To stop or unsubscribe call now to Geek Squad Tech Support at 1(855) 632-2710. If you did not Authorize this charge or would like to cancel the subscription call now at 1(888) 632-2710

Subtleties of your Recent Invoice:
Item: Geek Anti Drive
Receipt ID: SMKAY/587120
Installment Made By: Online
Method of shipment: Not Updated Yet Kindly call us for more Info

Subject: Order Complete

Geek Squad 
Invoice No: GSKBBW360AXV129
Your Subscription with Geek Squad will Renew Today and $389.99 is about to be Debited from your account by Today. The Debited Amount will be reflected within the next 24. In case of any further clarifications or block the auto-renewal service please reach out Customer Help Center.
Billed To
Customer ID: 239028916
Invoice Number: GSKBBW360AXV129
Renewal Date:
Description Quantity Unit Price Total
Geek Squad Best Buy Service (One Year Subscription) $389.99 $389.99
Subtotal $389.99
Sales Tax $0.00
Total $389.99

If you didn’t authorize this Charge, you have 24 Hrs. To cancel & get an instant refund of your annual subscription, please contact our customer care: +1 (469) 297-2928

Sincerely,
Geek-Squad™ Best Buy Customer Care

Subject: Thank you for your order Order No : #STR-P16

Geek Squad
Order Date :

Support Team : (844) 480-3111
Cancellation : (844) 870-3452

Dear Member,

Thank you for remaining a part of our Geek Squad family. Geek Squad holds a very

strong reputation in the industry and as a goodwill gesture, we are not willing to

charge our customers this year for their auto-renewal.

This email is being sent to all the users whose auto-renewal was not stopped and

was charged by the automatic debit system.

Customer Care 24*7: (844) 480 3111

Product Description

Account Type: Personal Home Subscription

Quantity:1 Device

Product:Geek Squad Internet Security

Current Plan:3 Years Subscription

Renewal Date:

Payment Mode: Auto Debit

Order Total: $399.99

Payment Status: Successful

This Subscription Will Auto-Renew Every 3 Years Unless You Turn It Off. No Later Than 24 hrs. Before The End Of The Subscription Period.

If you wish to cancel this subscription Contact our Support Team (844) 480-3111 (Toll-free) for Any Queries.

Geek Squad Subscription Renewal Device Security Entitlement only PC or Mac.

Thank you,

Geek Squad  

This email is being sent by Geek Squad as you have subscribed to our services.

Subject: Here’s Your INV ID No p#0077566329 Has been Activated!

Geek Squad

Notification

This email is in regard to letting you know that your computer software update will be renewed for another 3 Years.

Details

Invoice Number INV2300203US9
Amount $359.99 USD
Discount $59.99 USD
Amount Total $300.00 USD

Customer Care: (209) 243-5596

In case you have any further query please call our customer care help line number.
We will be glad to assist you with. You have 48 hours to cancel the subscription else it may be renewed with 300.00 USD from the accounts associated with our records.

If the email received in your spam box asks the service desk to verify machine identity.
Please do not reply to this email. This mailbox is not monitored, and you will not receive a response.

The above Geeks Squad emails are fake and phishing scams designed to steal your personal and financial information.

To protect yourself from this scam, it is crucial to be vigilant when receiving emails that appear to be from a legitimate company. Be sure to check the sender’s email address and the content of the email to ensure that it is legitimate. If you are unsure, it is always best to reach out to the company directly through their official website or customer service number.

Falling for the Geek Squad email scam can result in identity theft, financial loss, and compromised accounts. That’s why it’s critical to recognize these fraudulent emails and handle them accordingly.

Identifying Geek Squad Scam Emails

While scam messages impersonating major brands have gotten more sophisticated, there are still telltale signs that reveal their fraudulent nature.

When reviewing any email claiming to be from Geek Squad, watch for these red flags:

Sender Email Address

Closely analyze the sender’s email address. Scammers often use addresses designed to look legitimate.

  • Watch for misspellings or extra numbers/letters in the domain name. For example, geeksquad@servise-update.com instead of @geeksquad.com.
  • The address may include the company name, but end in a completely different domain like @email-renewal.com.
  • Hover over or click on the name to reveal the actual email address. Don’t rely solely on the displayed sender name.

Logos and Branding

Scammers frequently include official logos and graphics to appear credible. However, there may be subtle inconsistencies:

  • Poor image quality with blurry or pixelated logos
  • Colors on logos that don’t match the company’s official branding
  • Use of outdated designs no longer used by the company
  • Unnatural placement like logos awkwardly overlapping text

Grammatical Mistakes

Scam emails often contain spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. This is due to many scammers operating outside of the U.S.

  • Look for awkward phrasing, incorrect grammar, and misspelled words.
  • Watch for punctuation errors like missing periods or commas.
  • The email may include inconsistent font sizes or colors.

Generic Greetings

Legitimate businesses will address you directly using your name. Scammers use impersonal greetings like “Dear customer” or “Valued member”. This indicates the email was blast sent to many recipients.

Suspicious Links

Never click on links in an unsolicited email without verifying it first. Hover over each link to check if the URLs match the business. Watch for misspellings or odd domains unrelated to the company.

False Sense of Urgency

Scammers want to spur you into immediate action before you detect their scam. Be wary of language creating urgent demands, threats of account suspension, or limited-time offers.

Requests for Information

No legitimate company will request sensitive data like passwords, Social Security numbers, or banking details over email. If the sender asks for this information, it’s a scam.

Anatomy of the Geek Squad Email Scam Process

Now that you know how to detect fraudulent Geek Squad emails, let’s take a closer look at the anatomy of this scam. Understanding the tactics scammers use allows you to recognize the warning signs before falling victim.

Step 1: The Hook – Initial Scam Email

The first stage is sending out scam emails en masse to net as many potential victims as possible. These messages contain:

  • Subjects about an unpaid invoice, renewal, or recent order
  • Details like your order number, amount charged, items purchased
  • Logos and graphics mimicking the Geek Squad website and emails
  • A phone number or email requesting you contact them immediately

The email is meant to startle recipients into urgently contacting Geek Squad about an order they never placed.

Step 2: The Response – Panicked Recipient Reacts

Concerned over surprise charges or renewals, many recipients will call the number or respond to the email included. This is exactly what the scammers want.

At this point, recipients believe they are contacting the legitimate company to understand the situation and cancel the fraudulent order. In reality, they contacted the scammers directly.

Step 3: The Hook Set – Scammer “Assists” the Victim

The phone is answered by a friendly, professional-sounding representative claiming to be from Geek Squad. They confirm the order details and offer to cancel the transaction before it is processed.

This immediately puts victims at ease. Their fears are alleviated as the nice rep promises to resolve the situation. But this is just part of the manipulation.

Step 4: Extracting Information

With the victim’s guard down, the scammers get to work extracting information and money. Common techniques include:

  • Phishing: The rep requests personal details to “verify your account” or “process a refund”. This includes banking information, SSNs, account logins, etc.
  • Remote Access: The rep claims they need to access your computer to cancel the order. This allows them to download malware and spyware.
  • Excessive Fees: The rep offers to sell you tech support, security software, or extended warranties to avoid this happening again. The costs are inflated well above normal prices.
  • Ransomware: Malware downloaded during remote access locks down your computer until a ransom is paid.

Step 5: Maxing Out the Victim

Scammers will take the scam as far as possible to maximize what they can steal:

  • After getting banking info, they may make fraudulent online purchases or drain the victim’s account.
  • With remote access, they can infiltrate email, shopping sites, banks, and other accounts.
  • Viruses and malware are used to repeatedly steal data and credentials.
  • Fake services will be continually pushed using aggressive sales tactics.
  • Ransoms keep increasing the longer you take to pay.

The scammers will milk the situation for all it’s worth, leaving the victim drained financially and with compromised personal data and accounts.

What To Do If You Fall Victim to the Geek Squad Email Scam

Despite your best efforts, you may end up falling for a convincing Geek Squad scam email. If you supplied information, granted remote access, or paid any money, take the following steps immediately:

Step 1: Contact Your Bank and Credit Card Companies

Notify your bank and credit card providers there has been fraudulent activity on your accounts. File disputes and fraud claims regarding any unauthorized purchases or payments. Consider canceling your current cards and acquiring new ones to prevent additional misuse. Monitor your accounts closely for further deceptive charges.

Step 2: Change All Passwords

Reset the passwords on every online account, especially banking, email, social media sites and any sites storing financial data like Amazon or Paypal. Make the new passwords long, complex and unique from each other. Enable two-factor authentication wherever possible.

Step 3: Scan Devices for Malware

If you granted the scammer remote access, it’s likely malware was installed. Download quality antivirus software like Malwarebytes and perform thorough scans of your computer, phone, tablet and any linked devices. Remove anything suspicious that is detected.

Step 4: Place Fraud Alert

Contact one of the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion) to place an initial 90-day fraud alert on your credit file. The alert pings you when new activity occurs, indicating further misuse. File an identity theft report with the FTC and keep a copy.

Step 5: Monitor Your Accounts and Credit

Carefully review your financial statements and credit reports for any activity you don’t recognize. Unfamiliar accounts may indicate your identity was stolen to open new lines of credit. Report any deceptive activity immediately. Sign up for credit monitoring if needed.

How to Avoid Falling Victim to The Geek Squad Email Scam

Now that you understand how prevalent and damaging this scam is, here are key ways to avoid becoming a victim yourself:

  • Watch for red flags: Closely analyze any email claiming to be from Geek Squad for the suspicious indicators highlighted earlier.
  • Call official numbers: If emailed regarding an order, locate Geek Squad’s real contact info online or your receipt and call them directly. Don’t call the number in the email.
  • Hover over links: Don’t click links you’re unsure of. Hover to preview the URL and look for odd domains.
  • Never send sensitive data: Real reps will never ask for private information over email. All requests for your passwords, SSN, or bank details are scams.
  • Use strong passwords: Ensure all your online account passwords are different, complex, and updated regularly to keep scammers out.
  • Check security settings: Turn on enhanced security settings for banking, email, and social accounts when available. Enable two-factor authentication.
  • Keep software updated: Maintain up-to-date malware protection and update your operating systems, apps, browsers, and security software when new patches are released.
  • Review statements closely: Routinely verify all transactions on your financial statements are valid purchases you authorized. Report anything suspicious promptly.

Staying vigilant regarding cyber threats and exercising caution when contacted over email will reduce your chances of getting caught by the Geek Squad scam. But if you do fall victim, act swiftly to mitigate the damage.

Is Your Device Infected? Check for Malware

If your device is running slowly or acting suspicious, it may be infected with malware. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free is a great option for scanning your device and detecting potential malware or viruses. The free version can efficiently check for and remove many common infections.  

Malwarebytes can run on Windows, Mac, and Android devices. Depending on which operating system is installed on the device you’re trying to run a Malwarebytes scan, please click on the tab below and follow the displayed steps.

Malwarebytes For WindowsMalwarebytes For MacMalwarebytes For Android

Scan your computer with Malwarebytes for Windows to remove malware

Malwarebytes is one of the most popular and most used anti-malware software for Windows, and for good reasons. It is able to destroy many types of malware that other software tends to miss, without costing you absolutely nothing. When it comes to cleaning up an infected device, Malwarebytes has always been free and we recommend it as an essential tool in the fight against malware.

  1. Download Malwarebytes for Windows.

    You can download Malwarebytes by clicking the link below.

    MALWAREBYTES FOR WINDOWS DOWNLOAD LINK
    (The above link will open a new page from where you can download Malwarebytes)
  2. Double-click on the Malwarebytes setup file.

    When Malwarebytes has finished downloading, double-click on the MBSetup file to install Malwarebytes on your computer. In most cases, downloaded files are saved to the Downloads folder.

    Download

    You may be presented with a User Account Control pop-up asking if you want to allow Malwarebytes to make changes to your device. If this happens, you should click “Yes” to continue with the Malwarebytes installation.

    Click Yes to install Malwarebytes

  3. Follow the on-screen prompts to install Malwarebytes.

    When the Malwarebytes installation begins, you will see the Malwarebytes setup wizard which will guide you through the installation process. The Malwarebytes installer will first ask you what type of computer are you installing this program on, click either Personal Computer or Work Computer.
    Malwarebytes setup: Click on Personal Computer

    On the next screen, click “Install” to install Malwarebytes on your computer.

    Click on Install to install Malwarebytes

    When your Malwarebytes installation completes, the program opens the Welcome to Malwarebytes screen.

  4. Click on “Scan”.

    Malwarebytes is now installed on your computer, to start a scan click on the “Scan” button. Malwarebytes will automatically update the antivirus database and start scanning your computer for malicious programs.

    Click on Scan button

  5. Wait for the Malwarebytes scan to complete.

    Malwarebytes will now scan your computer for browser hijackers and other malicious programs. This process can take a few minutes, so we suggest you do something else and periodically check on the status of the scan to see when it is finished.

    Malwarebytes scanning for malware

  6. Click on “Quarantine”.

    When the Malwarebytes scan is finished scanning it will show a screen that displays any malware, adware, or potentially unwanted programs that it has detected. To remove the adware and other malicious programs that Malwarebytes has found, click on the “Quarantine” button.

    Review the malicious programs and click on Quarantine to remove malware

  7. Restart computer.

    Malwarebytes will now remove all the malicious files and registry keys that it has found. To complete the malware removal process, Malwarebytes may ask you to restart your computer.
    Malwarebytes requesting to restart computer to complete the malware removal process

Your computer should now be free of trojans, adware, browser hijackers, and other malware.

If your current antivirus allowed this malicious program on your computer, you may want to consider purchasing Malwarebytes Premium to protect against these types of threats in the future.
If you are still having problems with your computer after completing these instructions, then please follow one of the steps:

Scan your computer with Malwarebytes for Mac to remove malware

Malwarebytes for Mac is an on-demand scanner that can destroy many types of malware that other software tends to miss without costing you absolutely anything. When it comes to cleaning up an infected device, Malwarebytes has always been free, and we recommend it as an essential tool in the fight against malware.

  1. Download Malwarebytes for Mac.

    You can download Malwarebytes for Mac by clicking the link below.

    MALWAREBYTES FOR MAC DOWNLOAD LINK
    (The above link will open a new page from where you can download Malwarebytes for Mac)
  2. Double-click on the Malwarebytes setup file.

    When Malwarebytes has finished downloading, double-click on the setup file to install Malwarebytes on your computer. In most cases, downloaded files are saved to the Downloads folder.

    Double-click on setup file to install Malwarebytes

  3. Follow the on-screen prompts to install Malwarebytes.

    When the Malwarebytes installation begins, you will see the Malwarebytes for Mac Installer which will guide you through the installation process. Click “Continue“, then keep following the prompts to continue with the installation process.

    Click Continue to install Malwarebytes for Mac

    Click again on Continue to install Malwarebytes for Mac for Mac

    Click Install to install Malwarebytes on Mac

    When your Malwarebytes installation completes, the program opens to the Welcome to Malwarebytes screen. Click the “Get started” button.

  4. Select “Personal Computer” or “Work Computer”.

    The Malwarebytes Welcome screen will first ask you what type of computer are you installing this program, click either Personal Computer or Work Computer.
    Select Personal Computer or Work Computer mac

  5. Click on “Scan”.

    To scan your computer with Malwarebytes, click on the “Scan” button. Malwarebytes for Mac will automatically update the antivirus database and start scanning your computer for malware.
    Click on Scan button to start a system scan Mac

  6. Wait for the Malwarebytes scan to complete.

    Malwarebytes will scan your computer for adware, browser hijackers, and other malicious programs. This process can take a few minutes, so we suggest you do something else and periodically check on the status of the scan to see when it is finished.
    Wait for Malwarebytes for Mac to scan for malware

  7. Click on “Quarantine”.

    When the scan has been completed, you will be presented with a screen showing the malware infections that Malwarebytes has detected. To remove the malware that Malwarebytes has found, click on the “Quarantine” button.
    Review the malicious programs and click on Quarantine to remove malware

  8. Restart computer.

    Malwarebytes will now remove all the malicious files that it has found. To complete the malware removal process, Malwarebytes may ask you to restart your computer.
    Malwarebytes For Mac requesting to restart computer

Your Mac should now be free of adware, browser hijackers, and other malware.

If your current antivirus allowed a malicious program on your computer, you might want to consider purchasing the full-featured version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware to protect against these types of threats in the future.
If you are still experiencing problems while trying to remove a malicious program from your computer, please ask for help in our Mac Malware Removal Help & Support forum.

Scan your phone with Malwarebytes for Android to remove malware

Malwarebytes for Android automatically detects and removes dangerous threats like malware and ransomware so you don’t have to worry about your most-used device being compromised. Aggressive detection of adware and potentially unwanted programs keeps your Android phone or tablet running smooth.

  1. Download Malwarebytes for Android.

    You can download Malwarebytes for Android by clicking the link below.

    MALWAREBYTES FOR ANDROID DOWNLOAD LINK
    (The above link will open a new page from where you can download Malwarebytes for Android)
  2. Install Malwarebytes for Android on your phone.

    In the Google Play Store, tap “Install” to install Malwarebytes for Android on your device.

    Tap Install to install Malwarebytes for Android

    When the installation process has finished, tap “Open” to begin using Malwarebytes for Android. You can also open Malwarebytes by tapping on its icon in your phone menu or home screen.
    Malwarebytes for Android - Open App

  3. Follow the on-screen prompts to complete the setup process

    When Malwarebytes will open, you will see the Malwarebytes Setup Wizard which will guide you through a series of permissions and other setup options.
    This is the first of two screens that explain the difference between the Premium and Free versions. Swipe this screen to continue.
    Malwarebytes Setup Screen 1
    Tap on “Got it” to proceed to the next step.
    Malwarebytes Setup Screen 2
    Malwarebytes for Android will now ask for a set of permissions that are required to scan your device and protect it from malware. Tap on “Give permission” to continue.
    Malwarebytes Setup Screen 3
    Tap on “Allow” to permit Malwarebytes to access the files on your phone.
    Malwarebytes Setup Screen 4

  4. Update database and run a scan with Malwarebytes for Android

    You will now be prompted to update the Malwarebytes database and run a full system scan.

    Malwarebytes fix issue

    Click on “Update database” to update the Malwarebytes for Android definitions to the latest version, then click on “Run full scan” to perform a system scan.

    Update database and run Malwarebytes scan on phone

  5. Wait for the Malwarebytes scan to complete.

    Malwarebytes will now start scanning your phone for adware and other malicious apps. This process can take a few minutes, so we suggest you do something else and periodically check on the status of the scan to see when it is finished.
    Malwarebytes scanning Android for Vmalware

  6. Click on “Remove Selected”.

    When the scan has been completed, you will be presented with a screen showing the malware infections that Malwarebytes for Android has detected. To remove the malicious apps that Malwarebytes has found, tap on the “Remove Selected” button.
    Remove malware from your phone

  7. Restart your phone.

    Malwarebytes for Android will now remove all the malicious apps that it has found. To complete the malware removal process, Malwarebytes may ask you to restart your device.


Your phone should now be free of adware, browser hijackers, and other malware.

If your current antivirus allowed a malicious app on your phone, you may want to consider purchasing the full-featured version of Malwarebytes to protect against these types of threats in the future.
If you are still having problems with your phone after completing these instructions, then please follow one of the steps:

Frequently Asked Questions About the Geek Squad Email Scam

The Geek Squad email scam raises many questions for consumers. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about this fraud campaign.

What is the Geek Squad email scam?

This is a phishing scam where cybercriminals send fake emails impersonating the popular tech support company Geek Squad. The emails regarding fake subscriptions, orders, or unpaid invoices are intended to trick recipients into contacting the scammers.

What do the fake emails look like?

The scam emails are made to closely mimic legitimate Geek Squad communications. They include details like fake order numbers, logos, urgent calls to action, and a phone number or email to contact.

How do the scammers profit?

Once contacted, scammers use social engineering and technical subterfuge to extract money and sensitive data. Tactics include excessive tech support fees, account password phishing, and installing malware.

Do the emails contain links?

Some scam emails embed malicious links rather than phone numbers. The links can automatically download malware onto your device. Never click links in unexpected emails.

How can I identify a scam email?

Watch for poor spelling/grammar, urgent demands, requests for sensitive data, suspicious sender addresses, and threats of account suspension. Verify the email through independent contact info.

What if I fell victim already?

Immediately contact your bank and credit card companies. Reset all passwords. Scan devices for malware. Place fraud alerts and monitor your credit reports and accounts closely for further misuse.

How can I protect myself from this scam?

Be wary of unexpected emails urging quick action. Verify sender addresses and hover over embedded links. Use strong passwords and enable two-factor authentication where possible. Keep software updated.

Who should I contact about scam emails?

Report scam emails to your email provider and the Federal Trade Commission. Contact your bank and credit card companies regarding any unauthorized charges. Notify the police if you provided personally identifying information.

How can I securely contact the real Geek Squad?

Use contact information listed on their website or your purchase receipts rather than info provided in an email. Verify the number through an independent source before calling regarding any issues.

Conclusion

The Geek Squad scam is just one example of the many creative ways cybercriminals target the unsuspecting public. By impersonating trusted brands, scammers add legitimacy to their frauds, increasing the likelihood that recipients will fall for their trap.

This scam can result in devastating financial loss, stolen identities, compromised accounts, and damaged credit. But armed with the ability to recognize fraudulent emails and understanding scammers’ tactics, you can protect yourself and avoid supporting their deceptive operations.

Whenever contacted by any company regarding account issues, take a moment to independently verify the request before providing information or payments. The few minutes spent confirming a message’s authenticity can save you from a complex and drawn-out recovery process down the road.

Be wary of any unsolicited notifications and urgings to act immediately. If an email looks suspicious, trust your instincts and investigate before responding. With vigilance and skepticism regarding online communications, users can deny scammers the power to profit off deception.

How to Stay Safe Online

Here are 10 basic security tips to help you avoid malware and protect your device:

  1. Use a good antivirus and keep it up-to-date.

    Shield Guide

    It's essential to use a good quality antivirus and keep it up-to-date to stay ahead of the latest cyber threats. We are huge fans of Malwarebytes Premium and use it on all of our devices, including Windows and Mac computers as well as our mobile devices. Malwarebytes sits beside your traditional antivirus, filling in any gaps in its defenses, and providing extra protection against sneakier security threats.

  2. Keep software and operating systems up-to-date.

    updates-guide

    Keep your operating system and apps up to date. Whenever an update is released for your device, download and install it right away. These updates often include security fixes, vulnerability patches, and other necessary maintenance.

  3. Be careful when installing programs and apps.

    install guide

    Pay close attention to installation screens and license agreements when installing software. Custom or advanced installation options will often disclose any third-party software that is also being installed. Take great care in every stage of the process and make sure you know what it is you're agreeing to before you click "Next."

  4. Install an ad blocker.

    Ad Blocker

    Use a browser-based content blocker, like AdGuard. Content blockers help stop malicious ads, Trojans, phishing, and other undesirable content that an antivirus product alone may not stop.

  5. Be careful what you download.

    Trojan Horse

    A top goal of cybercriminals is to trick you into downloading malware—programs or apps that carry malware or try to steal information. This malware can be disguised as an app: anything from a popular game to something that checks traffic or the weather.

  6. Be alert for people trying to trick you.

    warning sign

    Whether it's your email, phone, messenger, or other applications, always be alert and on guard for someone trying to trick you into clicking on links or replying to messages. Remember that it's easy to spoof phone numbers, so a familiar name or number doesn't make messages more trustworthy.

  7. Back up your data.

    backup sign

    Back up your data frequently and check that your backup data can be restored. You can do this manually on an external HDD/USB stick, or automatically using backup software. This is also the best way to counter ransomware. Never connect the backup drive to a computer if you suspect that the computer is infected with malware.

  8. Choose strong passwords.

    lock sign

    Use strong and unique passwords for each of your accounts. Avoid using personal information or easily guessable words in your passwords. Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) on your accounts whenever possible.

  9. Be careful where you click.

    cursor sign

    Be cautious when clicking on links or downloading attachments from unknown sources. These could potentially contain malware or phishing scams.

  10. Don't use pirated software.

    Shady Guide

    Avoid using Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file-sharing programs, keygens, cracks, and other pirated software that can often compromise your data, privacy, or both.

To avoid potential dangers on the internet, it's important to follow these 10 basic safety rules. By doing so, you can protect yourself from many of the unpleasant surprises that can arise when using the web.

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