Federal Trade Commission Goes After Two Alleged Computer Support Scams
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently announced it has shut down two telemarketing firms for allegedly scamming customers with fraudulent computer support services.
According to a Nov. 20 Slate article, an entity that operated under the names Boost Software Inc. and OMG Tech Help as well as a company that made PC cleaner software are both facing FTC charges for allegedly collecting a combined $120 million from customers while failing to deliver the IT consulting and advanced computer services they were being paid to provide.
The two companies, which are structured as telemarketing firms, would call unsuspecting customers and warn them that their computers could have a virus. The companies would then advertise their PC cleaning software as a cure, “which at worst is malware and at best is benign bloatware,” Slate reports.
The companies asked customers to pay anywhere from $29 to $49 for their fraudulent software, according to Slate.
“These operations prey on consumers’ lack of technical knowledge with deceptive pitches and high-pressure tactics to sell useless software and services to the tune of millions of dollars,” Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. “There’s no excuse for it, and we are pleased the court has taken steps to temporarily shut down these scams while our lawsuit proceeds.”
According to Cleveland.com, the companies would also call customers and pose as computer support and computer repair technicians. The scammers would convince customers that their computers’ normal error logs were evidence of viruses, and encouraged them to buy network security systems and computer support services for as much as $500.
The FTC’s lawsuit against the two companies is currently pending; in the meantime, both companies have had their operations shut down, assets frozen and websites and phone numbers disabled, Cleveland.com reports.
A good way to prevent yourself from being scammed by a company like this? Don’t accept computer support services or software from a salesperson over the phone — as no reputable computer technician will cold-call customers.
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