Geek Squad Wants You To Write Down Your Password On This Sheet Because That's A Horrible Idea

We haven’t bought a new PC at Best Buy, well… probably since we investigated that whole optimized laptop thing a couple years back. So we haven’t seen the above sheet that not only allows you to choose from a variety of useless Geek Squad services, but also asks for your e-mail address and password.

Ars Technica reporter Jon Brodkin (who scanned the sheet in question) noticed this when he recently accompanied his brother on a computer-buying trip to Best Buy.

When they got to the password portion of the “PC Recommendation Worksheet,” they stopped and asked a Geek Squadder what in the world that information would be needed.

The employee told them to “just ignore that,” but Brodkin wondered how many people fill that in without thinking — and just why would Best Buy ask for this information.

A rep for the retailer told Brodkin that even though the “password” line on the form is directly under the line for “e-mail,” this isn’t asking for your e-mail password, but instead is supposed to be where you write down the password you want to use as your PC login so Geek Squad techs can set it up for you.

But why would the supposedly tech-savvy Geek Squad think it was ever a good idea to to write down your e-mail password and pass it off to a guy at a company not exactly known for its respect of customer privacy?

After Brodkin spoke to Best Buy, the company says it is revising the forms, which are currently “stored at a Best Buy store as protected customer information and destroyed after three years.”

But as he points out, it’s completely unnecessary for Best Buy to put in your preferred password to set up a computer. Both Windows and Mac computers have ways for third-party techs to set up PCs that would require the users to create their own password the first time they log in.

If for whatever reason you do give a complete stranger your password for anything, be sure to change it as soon as you possibly can.

Best Buy’s surprisingly insecure approach to new PC setup [ArsTechnica.com]