Tech support scammers hit with $51 million judgment

scam imageEver get a call from out of the blue, offering to fix your computer remotely? Hang up! No matter who they say they work for (I had a call a few years ago from someone claiming to be a “Windows” employee) it’s a scam.

If you let these scammers have remote access to your computer, they could damage it, or they could steal your identity. At best, they could charge you a lot of money for nothing.

We’ve warned the public before about tech support scams. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) just announced that a federal court has ordered a bunch of tech support scammers to pay a total of $51 million.

The judgment stemmed from complaints filed in September 2012 as part of an FTC crackdown on tech support scammers. The defendants, who were mostly based in India, allegedly claimed to be employees from companies including Dell, Microsoft, McAfee, and Norton. They allegedly claimed to have detected malware and charged hundreds of dollars to “fix” the victims’ computers.

Defendants included:

  • Pecon Software Ltd. et al;
  • Marczak et al.;
  • PCCare247 Inc. et al.;
  • Finmaestros, LLC et al.;
  • Lakshmi Infosoul Serivces Pvt. Ltd. et al.; and
  • Zeal IT Solutions Pvt. Ltd. et al.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of other tech support scammers out there. Your BBB regularly gets calls from consumers who have been called by such scammers. Here is some advice about how to avoid this scam and others like it:

  • Never let someone log into your computer remotely. When someone logs in, they can do anything you can do on your computer. They can access anything including personal and financial information. 
  • Do not click links in emails. It is better to type the address in the search bar manually.
  • If the URL seems odd, do not continue to go to the site. If it is a scam, it will most likely have an unusual URL. It will likely contain a common name but be accompanied by some jumbled letters or numbers.
  • Always look up the company’s phone number on their website. If you need to call a company, look it up on their official website. This can make sure that you are calling a legitimate number.

For more advice on scams, visit bbb.org

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