FTC shuts down tech support scam operation

scam imageWatchyourbuck has warned in the past about scam calls from people pretending to be with Microsoft or other software companies. Your BBB even got a call from someone trying to pull that scam (We didn’t fall for it).

If you give these scammers remote access to your computer, lots of bad things could happen–they could lock your computer and make you pay to unlock it again, they could install malware or steal bank passwords, or they could just charge you a lot of money for nothing.

The Federal Trade Commission recently cracked down on a fake tech support operation. At the FTC’s request, a federal court shut down a company that charged customers hundreds of dollars for tech support they didn’t need as well as software that was available for free, while pretending to work for Microsoft or Facebook. They reportedly told consumers that harmless files were signs of malware infection and sometimes claimed their computers needed to be repaired immediately.

Defendants in the case are Pairsys, Inc., Uttam Saha and Tiya Bhattacharya. The court froze their assets, banned them from misrepresenting themselves to customers, banned from deceptive telemarketing practices, and banned from selling or renting their customer lists. They also must shut down and disconnect their websites and phone numbers.

BBB has the following advice about how to avoid this scam and others like it:

  • Never let someone log into your computer remotely. If someone tries to get you to let them access your computer remotely, hang up. 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. Don’t rely on Caller ID or official-looking emails, which can be easily faked.