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Computing & Technology > Those Sleazy Tech Support Scams

Those Sleazy Tech Support Scams

We are so accustomed to seeing dialog/boxes error messages popping up on our computer screens that come from our computers, sometimes people have a hard time telling the difference between one of those and an Internet popup that looks very similar telling us our computer is infected and we need to contact a certain number for tech support. We're especially vulnerable when we're not confident that we fully understand how our computer works and what can go wrong with it.

Here's an FTC/State of Ohio case where some of those scammers were prosecuted.

"The operators of a computer tech support scam are permanently banned from the tech support business as part of a settlement to resolve charges by the Federal Trade Commission and the State of Ohio that the defendants tricked consumers into believing their computers were infected with viruses and malware, and then charged them hundreds of dollars for unnecessary repairs.

According to a complaint filed last year by the FTC, the defendants contacted consumers through advertisements that resembled pop-up security alerts from well- known technology companies. These ads appeared on consumers’ computer screens when they were browsing the Internet. The complaint alleged that the ads falsely warned consumers that their computers were infected with viruses or had been hacked or otherwise compromised, and urged them to immediately call a toll-free number for assistance.

The complaint further alleges that once consumers called the toll-free number listed on the ads, they were connected to a call center and pitched by telemarketers who claimed to be affiliated with technology companies such as Microsoft or Apple. After gaining access to consumers’ computers, the telemarketers purported to run a series of “diagnostic tests” to show that their computers had major problems requiring immediate repair. The telemarketers then persuaded consumers to buy a one-time “fix” or long-term service plans that cost hundreds of dollars."

This angers me - big judgments, but low-ball settlements. It's a slap on the hand:
"The settlements also impose a $12.4 million judgment, which will be suspended upon payment by the defendants of a total of $122,376.39. A separate settlement approved by the Commission and entered by the court in November with the Ohio-based defendants -- Repair All PC LLC, Pro PC Repair LLC, I Fix PC LLC, Serrano and Khanna – imposes a $12.4 million judgment, which will be suspended upon payment of $27,000."

posted on Jan 29, 2018 11:04 AM ()


Yes, I have been targeted. I got roped in once by a call-in outfit who got control of my computer and prevented access because we didn't go for their fix. I took it in to my computer tech who managed to rid it of their mischief. I also get "your computer has been compromised" messages from supposedly Microsoft. I press control/alt/delete and shut down. Problem solved. The Indians who scammed me, however, keep calling. We are on their sucker list and swearing at them and hanging up doesn't stop them from trying again.
comment by tealstar on Feb 1, 2018 12:01 PM ()
Turn off your computer instantly if you get one of those messages. It works.
comment by elderjane on Jan 30, 2018 6:29 AM ()
I got caught in that trap once a few years ago--not since! I either go to my computer guru in Memphis or, as he always says, "Google it! Google is your friend!"
comment by greatmartin on Jan 29, 2018 7:27 PM ()

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