The American Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today announced it settled with two Microsoft scammers. The criminals tried to convince internet users that their computer was infected with malware and then billed them hundreds of dollars for unnecessary repairs.
Part of the settlement is that both scammers are not allowed to ever get involved with tech support for computer users. According to the FTC complaint the scammers called users at home or displayed advertisements that resembled popup warnings from Microsoft, Apple or other tech companies. These advertisements had the goal to convince users that their computer was hacked or infected with malware and that they had to call a specific (toll-free) telephone number to get the issue resolved.
Users who called the phone number were connected to a call center where the operators pretended to be ‘certified’ employees of partner companies from well-known tech companies like Microsoft or Apple. Victims also were told they had to provide remote access to their computer to resolve their ‘problems’.
Once the scammers had access to the victim’s computer they performed all kinds of ‘diagnostic tests’ that should proof the computer had to be fixed immediately. After that, the scammers tried to convince the victim to pay hundreds of dollars for, “unnecessary computer repair services, service plans, anti-virus protection or software, and other products and services.”
Besides that the scammers are not allowed to ever get involved with tech support, they also are not allowed to ever falsely claim to be affiliated with a tech company and to perform any kind of deceptive telemarketing. Last, but not least, the settlement also imposes a $2 million judgment, most of which is suspended.