Archive for November, 2011
Sunday, November 27th, 2011
A recent survey shows 46.7% of shoppers will purchase holiday items online this year. Unfortunately, there are people out there looking to “scrooge” your holiday shopping experience. Regardless of how you shop online, keeping your online identity safe is crucial.
In part of our mission to police technology and protect the world, Geek Squad Agents have prepared tips to keep you safe while shopping online. Here are a few ways to ensure your identity remains safe while grabbing those hot deals on Cyber Monday.
Our mobile devices are replacing computers for more of our common tasks each year, and this year’s online shopping season is no different. There are a few special security concerns that come with using a mobile device to shop online. While shopping on the go this year, be sure to follow these security precautions to keep you and your digital wallet safe.
- Verify the website – When shopping from a mobile device, double check the web address prior to sending any information to ensure you are on the site you want to be.
- Check your network connection – Many mobile devices will default to an available unsecure wireless network. While this can be great to keep your data usage low, it can pose a security risk. Make sure you are not connected to an unsecure network and use your cellular connection or an encrypted network instead.
- Lock your devices – Keeping your personal device protected with a password is vital. While ‘gesture’ passwords are quick to access and easy to setup, the frequent use of the gesture on your screen can create smudges left by your fingerprint. This makes it easy to guess your gesture and get into your phone. In the event your device is misplaced, a traditional password will be more effective in preventing access to your personal information. As always, keep your password or PIN hard to guess. Don’t use birthdays or addresses, or other easy-to-guess combinations.
While shopping online from your computer, some of the same tips to keep your identity and your PC safe apply. This holiday season be sure to follow these basic rules to stay safe:
- Keep your PC healthy – The first and most important step is to ensure you keep your PC is clean and free of spyware and virus infections. Geek Squad offers a free Do-It-Yourself spyware and virus scan on GeekSquad.com, as well as free consultations from our Virtual Agents at support.geeksquad.com. You will also want to ensure your PC is completely up-to-date with all the latest security patches from Windows. Our Virtual Agents can remotely give your PC a quick tune-up to verify you have all the latest patches, and help improve basic performance with our PC Optimization service. If needed, they can also remotely perform a Virus and Spyware Removal service to repair any infections that may be present on your PC. Chat with an Agent at support.geeksquad.com for details.
- Identify and avoid spam and phishing attempts – During the holiday season, spammers frequently kick into overdrive. They’ll use the latest tactics to attempt to capture your identity with fake offers, attractive deals, and false websites. Check out our tips and tricks for avoiding these phishing attempts at our blog, available here.
- Ensure your wireless network is secure - It is always a good idea to ensure your wireless network is encrypted and secure. In normal circumstances this prevents people from accessing your network devices, or using your internet without your permission. It is vital, to protect yourself when shopping online, that you only use an encrypted network. When data is sent over an unsecure network hackers can potentially see what is being transmitted, and obtain your credit card information. Always use secure networks when making any purchases or doing your banking online. Geek Squad can assist in setting up your home wireless network and ensuring it is encrypted with the latest networking standards.
- Keep your credit cards where they belong; in your wallet – Geek Squad never recommends storing your credit card information in your web browser. While it may make it more convenient to shop online, it also makes it easy for anyone who may have access to your computer to steal the information. In just a few seconds, someone can sit down at your computer and write down any details stored in your web browser.
Remember, when shopping online this holiday season keeping your identity safe is only half the battle. Monday is a work day, after all! Geek Squad has a few tips to minimize your time spent shopping online to help you remain on your boss’s good side!
- Plan Ahead – Scoping out sites ahead of time to identify the best deal is a great plan to remain efficient. This will help minimize the time spent online, allowing you to condense your online shopping to your lunch break. Check out sites such as Cybermonday.net and CyberMonday.com for the latest scoop on who is offering what deals on Monday.
- Get the App! – There is a mobile app for just about everything now, and Cyber Monday is no exception! Apps like the CyberMonday Deals 2011 app allows you to browse over a thousand items that are popular on this year’s holiday gift lists.
- Keep busy – Not quite finished with your shopping and your lunch break is over? No worry, Geek Squad has a great tip to quickly switch between websites and open documents. Hear your boss coming down the hall? Hold down the ALT key and press TAB, quick! Each time you press the TAB key while holding ALT it will cycle through the next open window or program on your computer. Once that PowerPoint presentation you’re working on, or the open Excel document with the end of the year budget is front and center on the screen, release the ALT key. Your boss will see you as the dedicated worker, opposed to someone still trying to finish up the weekend’s shopping! (Not that we have any experience with that.)
For more tips on how to stay safe this holiday season, and ensure your computer is ready to go at all times, talk to an Agent. You can visit Http://www.geeksquad.com
to chat with an Agent, call 1-800-GeekSquad to set up an in-home appointment, or visit one of our over 1000 Geek Squad Precincts found at your local Best Buy to speak with an Agent directly.
Remember, Geek Squad Agents are there for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Our primary mission is keeping your techno-stress at bay, whether that is providing you with some preventative tips, or saving the day when everything seems to be going wrong; we’re here when you need us.
-Agent Patrick B.
Thursday, November 24th, 2011
Thanksgiving is the time of year for family, food, football, and shopping. It’s also a time for getting lost on the way to visit relatives, cleaning up crazy kitchen messes and dealing with crowds of people looking for a great sale. Fortunately, Geek Squad is here to help you learn about how your smartphone can help.
Whether you need help getting to your crazy Aunt Edith’s house, baking that perfect pumpkin pie, scoring hot deals on Black Friday or just amusing your friends and relatives, there are a plethora of apps that can make this Thanksgiving holiday a more enjoyable (or at least a bearable) one.
- For the Kitchen Geek: Are you hosting Thanksgiving for the first time this year? Or maybe you’re the seasoned veteran looking to streamline your process? With the Thanksgiving Planner app (Android, $0.99), you can get better organized and have a less stressful holiday. The application comes preloaded with a checklist of 163 items that will help you break down the workload into smaller, more manageable chunks. You can even tailor the list to your own needs by adding or removing events. The Thanksgiving Planning Check List on Epicurious.com, has the same type of feature,s allowing you to plan for everything a Thanksgiving dinner may entail.
- Turkey Fixin’s: Need some instructions on how to carve the bird or craft the perfect pumpkin pie? The Thanksgiving Recipe app (iPhone, free) offers step-by-step instructions on how to prepare, cook and carve your Thanksgiving Day turkey, as well as how to make your own pumpkin pie from scratch. A Geek Squad Agent can’t cook the turkey, but if you have any questions about using your technology in the kitchen, there are more than 20,000 Agents across the country ready to help. Step-by-step instructions aren’t your thing? Check out Holiday Kitchen–Turkey Time (Android, $2.99). It’s more akin to an instructional video than an application in that it shows you a 5- or 6-minute video that demonstrates how to cook that perfect turkey.
- Fun with the Family: Thanksgiving Turkey Calls (Android and iPhone, free) allows your smartphone to make authentic turkey calls–a perfect way to get into the Thanksgiving spirit (or annoy your elders when they banish you to the “kids” table.) You can choose from 12 different warbles, and each call includes a small fact explaining what that gobble means. Use them to entertain yourself and family members.
- Phone Turkey Fun: Put your phone in a festive mood with Thanksgiving Wallpapers (Android and iPhone , free). You can choose from several different scenes, including various Thanksgiving motifs such as pumpkins, turkey, corn and other fall images.
- Travel Made Easy: One part contacts list, one part Google Maps, Trippster (Android , free) will help you travel to your holiday destination. The clean and straightforward layout makes importing your contacts and keeping track of your trips easy, giving you quick access to the addresses you navigate to frequently. The free Trapster app (iPhone, free) app provides drivers with alerts as you approach speed changes, red light and speed cameras, police check points, accidents and other road hazards. The “Caravan” option also lets you communicate with people in other vehicles if you happen to be following someone.
- Shop ‘Til you Drop! Thanksgiving isn’t just all about turkey, stuffing, and football–it’s also about planning your route to all the Black Friday sales. Luckily you have the Black Friday Survival Guide app (Android and iPhone, free) installed on your phone to help you move efficiently through the mobs of shoppers. The app lists the latest sales as they happen, and lets you browse through sales by store and category. If you come by a Best Buy on Black Friday, don’t forget to stop by the Geek Squad counter and say, “Hi!”
If you prefer to do your post-Thanksgiving shopping on Cyber Monday, just remember to protect your personal information to ensure you’re shopping safely and securely online. If you need help securing your WiFi network or if you have questions about shopping on your smartphone, tablet or computer, contact the Geek Squad at 1-800-GEEK SQUAD, GeekSquad.com or at any Best Buy store.
At Geek Squad we know how important it is that the turkey comes out perfectly, and how stressful it can be managing a large family gathering. Hopefully these apps will help you achieve the perfect day! For help with all your technology needs, don’t hesitate to call 1.800 GEEK SQUAD to set up an onsite consultation, or visit the Geek Squad Precinct at Best Buy and other locations to speak with an Agent directly. As always, Geek Squad Agents are standing by 24/7/365 at Http://www.geeksquad.com. Every day, even on Thanksgiving, we are here to police your technology and protect the world. Just don’t ask us how long to cook that turkey for. We usually order in.
Saturday, November 19th, 2011
This holiday season Best Buy is launching a Holiday Gift Card Sweepstakes. Unfortunately, some nefarious people see this as an opportunity to attempt to commandeer personal information from you.
As Geek Squad Agents it is our duty to protect and serve. In an effort to keep your accounts and your personal information safe, we are providing information on how to identify and avoid phishing scams. This helpful guide will not only protect you as you participate in the Sweepstakes hosted by Best Buy, but will prepare you to keep an eye out for many phishing scams that are commonly found online every day.
Phishing sites are an Internet-wide problem. These sham websites or links may come to your attention by email, tweets or social network “posts” that look authentic. These little links will take you to a website that will look identical to a legitimate site. It could be your favorite social networking site, a website you regularly use for shopping, or even your bank’s website. However, these are fake sites designed by criminals to steal personal and account information. The fake site will commonly encourage you to login using your credentials or perhaps update your credit card. If you were to provide that information it goes straight into the scammer’s pocket.
Phishing sites also present themselves as seasonal or one-of-a-kind offers that require registration. Unfortunately, the Best Buy sweepstakes is exactly the kind of high-profile offer these scammers like to imitate.
Geek Squad has compiled some useful information on the most effective ways to safeguard your online identity:
- If you are contacted and asked to “verify” your account, never click a link in an email. These links often take you to the fake phishing website set up to be identical to the official site. Instead, open a new web browser and type the address to the site yourself. Remember that a company will never ask you for your login credentials via email.
- Read the message thoroughly. Typos and grammar mistakes are tell-tale signs that you’re reading a fake message.
- If the message was sent to you in a generic fashion such as “Dear customer” or “Dear player” etc. the warning flags should go up that you might be reading a fake email.
- Use different a password on every account. If you use the same passwords it can be a downward spiral after the culprit gets your login credentials. For example, they gain your information via Facebook, and later find they can use this information to log into your email account. For some tips and tricks on selecting strong passwords, check out Geek Squad’s “Keys to a Secure Password”.
- If you’re logging onto your bank’s website (or another website that requires payment), it should always be encrypted and the beginning of the website address should have an s after Http, (Https://www) rather than http://www. in the URL.
The s indicates the site is encrypted.
- Always use an up to date browser, as using an older web browser can leave you susceptible to threats. Newer web browsers like IE 9 and Google Chrome feature built in anti-phishing protection. If kept up to date they can help detect fake sites.
- When in doubt, don’t click it. If you’re not sure, simply ignore the message or contact the company directly.
We hope that you find this information useful in safeguarding yourself against phishing scams.
As a reminder, the Best Buy Gift Card giveaway will be conducted only on Best Buy’s Facebook page. As part of your entry Best Buy will only collect your email address, and will not ask for any additional information. This holiday season, if you receive information regarding the Best Buy Holiday Gift Card Sweepstakes and you would like to verify its authenticity, feel free to tweet to us @Twelpforce or by posting the information for verification on the Best Buy Community Forums.
-Agent Laura G
Sunday, November 13th, 2011
Recently it was discovered certain 1st Generation iPod Nano’s may have a defective battery. This can lead to problems with the device. If you have a 1st Generation iPod Nano purchased between September 2005 and December 2006 you may be affected.
According to Apple:
“Apple has determined that, in very rare cases, the battery in the iPod nano (1st generation) may overheat and pose a safety risk. Affected iPod nanos were sold between September 2005 and December 2006.
This issue has been traced to a single battery supplier that produced batteries with a manufacturing defect. While the possibility of an incident is rare, the likelihood increases as the battery ages.
Apple recommends that you stop using your iPod nano (1st gen) and follow the process noted below to order a replacement unit, free of charge.”
The 1st Generation iPod Nano can be identified by its White or Black plastic front, and silver metal back. You can check to see if your 1st Generation iPod is affected by the recall by visiting Apple.com and entering the Serial Number on the back of the iPod. Apple is replacing the affected units with a 1st Generation iPod Nano that does not have the defective battery.
As always, if you have any questions feel free to contact 1-800-Geek-Squad, visit Http://www.GeekSquad.com to chat with an Agent, or tweet us at Http://twitter.com/Twelpforce.
-Agent Patrick B.
Friday, November 11th, 2011
Today is Veteran’s Day. The Geek Squad would like to honor everyone who has served in the United States Military. If you know someone who has served or is currently serving in the military, please take a moment to thank them for all the sacrifices they have made for our country.
Please join us thanking Veterans around the world on Facebook and Twitter.
Geek Squad Agents understand the importance of staying connected with your family and friends, wherever they are serving. Fortunately, we’ve come a long way from it taking 3 weeks to send a letter around the world. Today’s technology provides us with many online tools – email, text, chat, and video – that allow real communication in real time. Skype, for example, is an incredible program that lets users share real time video with voice and chat from any computer with a camera and many of today’s smart phones. It is a great way for service members and their loved ones to have “face-to-face” conversations while they are thousands of miles apart.
Skype is available for free, from the following locations:
Skype for Windows and Mac OSX based computers
Skype for Android powered mobile Devices
Skype for iOS powered mobile devices.
For additional details on how to setup Skype on your PC, check out this free Geek Squad 2 Minute Miracle on setting up your account! http://www.geeksquad.com/do-it-yourself/2mm/Skype-Setup.aspx
We are committed to developing services that support members of our armed services and their families. As a special “thank you,” Geek Squad is proud to offer a 50% discount with no setup fee on our Geek Squad Online Support Plan for Veterans, and those on Active Duty status. We think they have enough on their plates. It’s the least we can do to help them stay in touch with those they love. Visit Http://www.geeksquad.com/military for details.
On behalf of all Agents, thank you for your service.
-Agent Jackie P.
Tuesday, November 1st, 2011
Much like a majority of the United States on the eastern seaboard, a Geek Squad Service Center has also been affected by the recent heavy snow.
Unfortunately, our primary facility for digital camera and camcorder repair is currently without power. We are working hard with local authorities to restore power to the facility as quickly as possible, however it may impact our turn-time for digital camera and camcorder repair. This outage is impacting our service center’s ability to repair units, ship and receive units, and contact clients via the phone.
As always, we at Geek Squad take pride in our ability to serve our clients as quickly and efficiently as possible, and apologize for any delay this may cause in our mission. We hope the delay is minimal, and we look forward to being fully operational again as soon as possible.
-Agent Jackie P.
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