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

The Federal Trade Commission released a report this month outlining the companies scammers most commonly impersonate, the brands they most commonly use in fraudulent transactions, and their top methods.

According to the report, Best Buy’s Geek Squad, along with Amazon and PayPal, are among the most widely imitated companies used to scam victims out of their money.

“Scammers posing as these companies operate in a variety of ways. For example, fake Geek Squad emails claim that computer services they never signed up for are up for renewal at rates worth hundreds of dollars,” the FTC reported.

Despite not being the most commonly imitated companies, Microsoft and Publishers Clearing House are two of the most financially successful ploys used by scammers, according to the FTC.

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Shoppers inside a Best Buy store on Black Friday, Friday, Nov. 24, 2023, in Union City, California. (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images/Getty Images)

“Microsoft impersonation scams begin by displaying a fake security pop-up warning on your computer and offering a phone number to call for help,” the FTC said. “The fake call from Publishers Clearing House says you must pay a fee to collect your (fake) sweepstakes prize.”

Ticker safety last change change %
MSFT Microsoft 430.16 +3.16 +0.74%
BBY Best Buy Co., Ltd. 71.50 +1.87 +2.69%
Amazon Inc. 180.75 -0.30 -0.17%

According to the FTC report, the most common forms of scam messages are email and phone calls, but victims are increasingly interacting with them via social media, with these scams most commonly perpetrated via Facebook and Instagram.

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The exterior of the Federal Trade Commission building and sign are seen outside its headquarters in Washington, D.C. The FTC released a report this week outlining the most common scams and the most common methods of combating them. (Photo by Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images/Getty Images)

The FTC also offered guidelines to companies that want to make it harder for bad actors to impersonate their brands.

“At a minimum, make it easy for customers to contact you and verify which communications are legitimate,” the FTC said in the report. “Of course, pushing the responsibility onto customers is not the answer. Rely on the ingenuity of your employees to deploy solutions that protect your loyal customers and your reputation.”

Scammers are constantly expanding their reach and moving into new industries.

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Microsoft logo

The logo lights up outside Microsoft’s booth at ISE 2024 in Barcelona, ​​Spain. The FTC claims that the two companies most frequently imitated by scammers are Microsoft and Publishers’ Clearing House. (Photo: Cesc Meymo/Getty Images/Getty Images)

Since early March, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center has received more than 2,000 reports from three states about text message-based phishing attacks disguised as highway toll booths, also known as “smishing.”

In this scam, malicious actors send victims a text message saying Unpaid invoices According to the FBI, the users are then directed to links “designed to look like the actual names of each state’s toll road services” to pay the toll.

Many of the complaints note that the texts use similar language, such as “unpaid tolls,” but the links are created to disguise the names of state toll services and the phone numbers appear to vary by state, investigators said.

FOX Business’ Daniella Genovese contributed to this report.