CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – A new scheme reported to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) indicates phony emails from PayPal and Geek Squad to auto-renew annual subscriptions are attempting to collect bank information.

According to the recent report from BBB, con artists pretend to be contacting you as part of the Geek Squad, which is owned by Best Buy, or through PayPal. The BBB says an invoice that pretends to be from Geek Squad shows you will be charged hundreds of dollars for an annual subscription that is about to auto-renew.

Included in the suspicious email has a phone number to call, in a panic users have reported that they have called the number that the subscription is not authorized. The con artist portrayed as a “customer service agent” answers and pretends to assist you with the cancellation. They may offer you a refund or ask you to confirm your bank account information so they can cancel the subscription. If you give them that sensitive information, they’ll likely gain access to your account and can withdraw money without your consent.

According to the BBB, a consumer reported this experience: “The Geek Squad sent an email saying they were going to auto charge me $422.22 for an annual subscription. I called the number in the email to cancel the renewal. They told me I had to fill out a form, which I did. However, when they asked me to click on a specific link on my bank account website, I became suspicious and told them I was going to report a scam. They wouldn’t give up and just kept telling me to go to my bank’s website and click the link. I hung up and deleted the email.”

Additionally, BBB reports indicated that an attached PDF invoice was attached to the email. If downloaded or any links clicked, malware could be installed onto your computer and put you at risk of identity theft.

BBB says there is also a similar scheme that requests payment from a fake PayPal email. The message urges you to call “customer service” if “the payment was not authorized or you wish to cancel this charge.”  

The following information to avoid fake invoice scheme is provided by BBB:

  • Be wary of unsolicited emails, especially if you don’t remember doing business with the company they claim to come from. Even if you do business with a company, be careful if you receive an email you didn’t ask for or authorize. Scammers love to impersonate companies that are well-known and trusted by consumers.
  • Know how invoices will be delivered. If you sign up for a service or subscription, ask how the company will deliver its invoices. That way, you won’t be fooled if scammers send you a copycat invoice through a different channel.
     BBB Accredited Businesses promise to adhere to BBB’s Standards for Trust, so look for the BBB Accredited Business Seal. It’s the Sign of a Better Business. 
  • Train your staff to spot a fake invoice. As a small business owner, you may not personally look at every invoice from your accounts department. Ensure your employees know how to differentiate a real invoice from a scam.
  • Don’t give in to scare tactics. Scammers will use a sense of urgency to get you to give up sensitive information or make payments without thinking. If someone tells you you’ll lose hundreds of dollars if you don’t act now, don’t be easily intimidated. Always do proper research before agreeing to any transactions – especially unexpected ones.
  • Have questions about a Geek Squad message? Reach out to Best Buy. Customers can call 1-888-BESTBUY to confirm whether a suspicious email is real. Also, check out for more resources to help spot cybercrime, fraud, and tech support scams.