FTC Cracks Down on Support Scams


FTC Cracks Down on Support Scams

The Federal Trade Commission has recently stepped up its efforts to stop technical support scams that are defrauding consumers of millions through deceptive search engine ads, popups and phone calls.

FTC, Pennsylvania and Connecticut Sue Tech Support Scammers That Took More Than $17 Million From Consumers
Defendants Used Search Engine Results and Popups to Lure Consumers to Deceptive Scheme

A federal court has granted a request by the Federal Trade Commission to shut down a tech support scam that allegedly bilked consumers out of more than $17 million by pretending to represent Microsoft, Apple and other major tech companies.

“We’re pleased the court shut down these scammers, who defrauded consumers out of millions of dollars by preying on their lack of technical expertise,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Our goal is now to get money back for the victims in this case, and keep the defendants out of the scam tech support business.”

According to a complaint filed by the FTC, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General and State of Connecticut Office of Attorney General, the defendants in the case used internet advertisements and popups that appeared to be from well-known technology companies to lure consumers into calling them. When consumers called the defendants’ phone numbers, they were further misled into thinking their computers were riddled with viruses, malware, or security breaches, and were given a high-pressure sales pitch for unnecessary tech support services.

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As alleged in the complaint, consumers who responded to the phony ads were routed to a call center operated by the defendants, where telemarketers would frequently misrepresent that they were “a Microsoft agent,” “Google support,” or “work with AT&T,” among other affiliation claims. The telemarketers would then convince consumers to give them remote access to their computers, navigate to harmless portions of the computer, such as the Windows Event Viewer, and mislead consumers into thinking their computer was infected with viruses and malware.

At that point, defendants would pressure consumers to sign up for technical support plans and repair services often costing hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars. In some cases, the alleged technical support consisted of deleting harmless files, but in other cases, defendants “technicians” would make changes that could potentially harm the performance of the computer, according to the complaint.

READ MORE https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2015/11/ftc-pennsylvania-connecticut-sue-tech-support-scammers-took-more

Read full complaint as filed here: https://consumermediallc.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/151113click4supportcmpt.pdf

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6 thoughts on “FTC Cracks Down on Support Scams

  1. I tell these jerks that “I know my computer is infected and I don’t really care right now. But I will fix it myself when I get time. Good bye” They usually don’t know what to say and hang up.

  2. Check out Whitepages ID app for iPhone & maybe other smart phones. I use it for my landline and have stored 60+ phone numbers by blacklisting them using this app. If I don't recognize a phone # I let the answering machine pick it up. Mostly they just hang up. Then I list that number and post in the app. It will tell you if it is a spam or scam #. You have the option to blacklist it.

  3. My neighbor came over and said her husband was on the phone with “tech support” but wanted to know if I thought it was legit. I ran to their house and he had just hung up waiting for a recall because they couldn’t get the software to load. When the phone rang, I answered and said I was officer Johnson of the local police dept and asked who the caller was. Surprise! They hung up. I had my neighbor put a freeze on all bank accounts and change all of their passwords just in case.

  4. wise move, hanging up on them. my mam was almost taken before i walked in and STEPPED in. i unplugged the internet cable, told them where they could get off and had her call up the bank to put a freeze on her current account and cancel her debit card. that move saved her more than we will ever know.

  5. I have someone purportedly from Dell support calling incessantly saying Dell is reporting something coming from my PC. He gives me all the info about my PC. I hung up the first time and called Dell directly. Bottom Line, there is nothing wrong with my PC and they gace me the FTC number. When I call thed FTC, they said they get several calls a day about this. Probably would have been handed off to some paid scam support.

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