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Online Safety Basics

At Best Buy we take your privacy seriously. Your personal information is important and is tied to nearly every aspect of your life, from your family, friends and neighbors to your home, bank account and credit score. In today’s connected world it can also become a target of varying scams through the devices and technology we use every day.


Use common sense and follow the simple guidelines below to help keep your private information private. You can also visit the Best Buy Privacy Hub for more information on how to protect your personal information.



Phishing/Smishing Scams

Scams often take the form of e-mail (Phishing) or text (Smishing) messages from parties claiming to be reputable companies. Once a scammer has tricked you into giving them your personal information, they can make purchases in your name, open additional lines of credit and do damage to your financial reputation that may take years to undo.


You don’t need to be technology expert to protect yourself from phishing and smishing scams.

Reputable companies will never proactively solicit you for your credit card number, your Social Security number or similar information.  Do not respond to e-mails or texts that request this information especially if you do not recognize the source of the message.


And don’t forget -- if you believe your personal information has been compromised, report it. Contact your bank, credit card company or other service providers and forward the email to the Federal Trade Commission at Consumers are also encouraged to contact their local authorities when/if such events occur.



Be Wary of Free Offers & Contests

If an offer sounds too good to be true, chances are it isn’t a legitimate offer.  If you have questions about whether or not an offer is valid, verify directly with the company referenced in any text or e-mail message you receive.


For example, some customers may have recently received a text message indicating that they won a $1,000 Best Buy gift card. It prompted customers to visit a third-party site set-up to look like our brands.  This message did not originate from Best Buy or Geek Squad and was not a result of a breach of our customer information.


Please note: customers do have the option of signing up for daily e-mail and Twitter alerts through  Additional newsletters may be offered from time to time, but all promotions related to those newsletter subscriptions will be advertised on, in our weekly newspaper insert, or on signage at our retail stores.



Social Networking

When posting on social networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter, only share personal information that you are comfortable having in the public domain.  Remember to restrict access to your page and/or profile by adjusting your account’s security settings whenever possible.



Use Strong Passwords

Creating a strong password, and changing it regularly, is perhaps the easiest way to protect your online identity and personal information.  Use a combination of numbers, letters and special characters (when allowed) to create your password.  The stronger your password is, the harder it will be for others to guess what it is.  You’ll also want to use different passwords for each site or service.




  • Use a combination of capital letters, lower-case letters and numbers
  • Use special characters like #, $, @ and ~ whenever possible
  • Use passwords that are at least 12 to 14 characters long (the longer, the better)
  • Change your password every 30 to 90 days
  • Keep your password in a secure place if you need to write it down, such as a security chest or safe





  • Use the same password on every site
  • Use default passwords like admin or guest
  • Use passwords based on dictionary words, repetition or names (ex: racecar, spamspam, Brian)
  • Use passwords based on well-known numbers (ex: 911, 8675309, 411)
  • Use dictionary words with numbers appended (ex: password123)
  • Use passwords with simple substitution (ex: p@ssw0rd)
  • Use the same character multiple times in succession (ex: AAA)
  • Use passwords based on personal information like addresses, hobbies and dates
  • Leave your password where anyone can find it, like attached to your computer monitor or desk



Remember that your personal information is only as safe as you make it - the more complex you make your passwords, the harder they will be for others to guess.



Use a Reputable, Subscription-Based Antivirus or Web Security Program

Antivirus and web security programs not only protect you from malicious software, but they can also help you identify potential threats that may already exist on your computer.  Kaspersky Antivirus, Trend Micro Internet Security and Norton 360 are excellent examples of such programs and many more are available.  Just keep in mind that more is not necessarily better!  Most antivirus and security programs are designed to be used as stand-alone tools and may not function properly if a second program of the same type is installed or running at the same time.



Avoid Unfamiliar Freeware/Shareware

Never install a program simply because it’s free!  Many malicious programs masquerade as free tools or utilities and are difficult to remove once they’ve been installed.  Always research free programs thoroughly before downloading them and make sure to read their licensing agreements before you install them.

John|Social Media Specialist | Best Buy® Corporate
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