Court tells tech support scammers to pay up

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A U.S. District Court recently ordered the operators of several international tech support scams to pay more than $5.1 million for convincing people that their computers were riddled with viruses and then charging for bogus support services.

We’ve written before about tech support scammers. They call and claim to work for well-known companies like Microsoft, Norton or McAfee. They say your computer is infected with malware and then ask for remote access so they can “fix” it. Or they place ads in online search results to trick you into calling them.

You might have gotten a call like this:

A 2012 FTC crackdown on tech support scams led to the recent court order. Unfortunately, new scammers pop up quickly. If you get an urgent call from someone who wants remote access to your computer, hang up and report it at ftc.gov/complaint.

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RECENTLY I RECEIVED ANOTHER SCAM PHONE CALL, THEY SAID THEY WERE..........CREDIT CARD.........AND WANTED TO KNOW IF I WAS INTERESTED IN LOWING THE INTEREST ON MY CREDIT CARD

TO MAKE A LONG STORY SHORT, I QUESTIONED THEM AND KNEW THEY WERE SCAMMERS.

THEY HUNG UP ON ME, BECAUSE OF THE QUESTIONS I WA ASKING TTHEM.

These scammers called our house numerous times. Once, in the middle of the night. To tell us that malicious viruses had infiltrated our computer. The goal is to direct you to a false web site and obtain your private financial data via that web site. This is SO common, our friends are being called as well. Here is what I did: I kept them on the telephone 15 minutes, asking questions like, "What viruses, exactly, are these?" "What are the names of the viruses?" "How did you come to find out that my computer was infected?" ... The guy said, "Something is fishy with your computer." I answered, "Something is fishy, you are certainly right about that. But not with my computer. You need to get an honest job. This is no way to make a living." He placed a "supervisor" on the phone who was slightly more skilled at smooth talk. But who, upon questioning, hung up. THEY HAVE NEVER CALLED AGAIN. They will tell you, "Microsoft doesn't call directly, we call for them..." and on and on. Just be CLEAR that you KNOW that they are con artists and HANG UP. :)

THANKS FOR THAT ADVICE.

I filed a complaint about this just a few days ago. now they call from a wireless number 216-894-3535 usually after 9:00 pm. I told them to leave me alone that they are scammers. They keep calling. Not sure what else to do to make them stop.

got call from lt global saying I had thousands of errors on my computer and they would fix them for a price.for between1 to 5years I later found out that they are a scam.I found hundreds of complaints.something should be done about them.

I just got a call from geek squad on behalf of Microsoft and was told I had a virus csrss.exe then sent me to goggle it to see it was a virus .. I asked all the pertinent questions and told them I needed a phone number to call back 18550815399 Kevin Stone from geek squad .. so I called geek squad and no they do not ever call without you calling first so definitely a scam ...

It happened to me from a company called OTR and they charged $399.98 for a full year coverage. Called twice and they were to clean up my computer but nothing really changed. their phone numbers were 1-855-393-4310 or 1-855-316-8324

Any 855 number is always india scammers you were acammed. There was nothing wrong with your pc and you gave them money for nothing. Sorry...

Yes I did....from phone number 303.351.5393.......they informed me my anti spam program was not performing correctly

I have received two notice of an account problem, one from WellsFargo, another from Discover. I had just resolved PayPal charges amounting to $1500+, so was sure it wasn't true. The bank was phony also !

THE LAST COUPLE MONTHS I HAVE HAD CALLS FROM A.T.T.,ABOUT THIS VERY THING, AND I ALSO GOT A LETTER ON 06-20-14 FROM TRANS UNION, THE LETTER SAID THAT THE BREACH OCCURRED APRIL 9 THROUGH APRIL
21 THE CRIMINALS APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN INTERESTED IN INFORMATION THEY COULD USE TO UNLOCK PHONES THEY HAD ALREADY STOLEN. SINCE SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS WERE ALSO INVOLVED, USERS ARE STRONGLY ENCOUURAGED TO TAKE STEPS TO PROTECT THEIR IDENITY! I HAVE THOUSANDS OF PAGES OF PROOF WHERE I HAVE HAD $10,000.OOS DOLLORS STOLEN FROM ME OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS. I HAD A STROKE AND BRAIN BLEED 7 YEARS AGO THAT STILL EFFECTS ME EVERY DAY! I WANT SOME JUSTICE DONE HERE. I TO HAVE HAD MCAFEE LOG ME IN TO FIX MY COMPUTOR I AM GOING TO REPORT THIS TO THE FTC! GOD BLESS!

This happened to me last week. It is your worst nightmare come true. I reported my situation to www.ic3.gov.

Thank you for that information. Q hope you're able too help me with my Personal information about being scammed and my IDENTITY THEFT Thank you

If you are worried about identity theft here are some steps you can take to protect yourself. Find more information about identity theft at ftc.gov/idtheft.

Thanks for the information concerning this scam. I will be well informed thanks to your information and I appreciate this. Thank you.

Tech Scammers call 5AM, all day and 11PM! Always say something wrong with my computer. (Nothing is wrong) This has been going on for months! Accent sounds like East Indian or Phillipines. Now I don't answer phone unless Iknow who it is. What can I do?

Don't just post here, actually call and report it to the FCC 888-225-5322 or FTC at 877-382-4357.

Tech scammers should most likely be reported to the FTC.

Reporting gives them the statistics of how bad the scam is, and more information to help them take action.

I don't mean to be nasty, but bitching in a forum while NOT actually reporting does no good. Also, you may not get results in the short term by reporting, but you will help everyone else.

Why Will the PHONE SERVICE I PAY FOR "BRIGHTHOUSE" Not STOP these malicious phonies calling without legitimate Phone Number TD....Years ago Phone service Companies Had a simple method of tracing just who was calling....I Wonder if Pres. Obama gets his share of this ??????

Stronza's post should be deleted. This is NOT the place for political stupidity!

I agree, after all this sudden influx of scams over the last 5 years, is not the President's fault. It must be President Bush's fault.

How about the " pop ups" on the computer basically saying the same thing as these phone calls. I never use them but I do receive at one or two every couple of weeks.

This means your PC is infected with malware. It is designed to get you to click on it to take you to malicious sites. Try the free version of Malware Bytes anti malware to remove the threats.

Along with Malwarebytes try cleaning your disk on your PC as well... That also helps keep your disk manageable and gunk off of it and hopefully not reinstall itself as some of the nastier stuff does...

I have one such scammer on my machine as I write the note, He calls himself PC speedy Clean. He attach his sofeware as a program in my C drive and everytime I try to get on the internet he has a box prompting me to click on Yes or NO. Although I click NO the program start to down load I have to shut down my machine to stop it. I try to uninstall but it will not allow that to happen. I paid to clean my machine to get it off once, and as soon as I get on the internet it came back on my C drive. It is a big nuisance to me, and I do not know what to do because I cannot afford to pay again to get this radical off my computer. I have norton, but somehow it bypass Norton and is sitting on my C drive.

You need to use another computer to clean the virus from your drive. If the following is too complicated for you to do yourself, get a friend or neighbor who is computer-literate to do it. DO NOT take your computer to a shop or (even worse) Geek Squad! They'll charge a proverbial "arm and leg" or try to sell you a new computer.

1. Remove the hard drive from your computer and connect it to another (already-disinfected) computer as a secondary (data) drive.
2. Run MalwareBytes and let it scan your drive. It should find the virus files and delete them.
3. Reinstall the drive in your computer. Download and run MalwareBytes on your computer so it can scan the registry. (It won't see the registry on your drive when it's connected as a data drive on another computer.)
4. To ward off future infections, run MalwareBytes periodically (like monthly), and any time you notice anything suspicious.

Maybe the only way to be rid of it is to erase and reinstall the operating system. I think it's the safest bet. You can't be too careful. Back up anything you don't want to lose, but scan the files and be sure they themselves are uninfected.

I was scammed of approximately $500.00, recently, by PC Wizards and another group who claimed to be Microsoft. I notified my Visa, bank, police, BBB, FTC & Western Union but have had no luck in getting back any money.

I just got taken for $400.00 with the your computer is infected go get a apple video card and give me the numbers. Thanks for sharing at least I am not the only one who was fooled.

I received a call from softfort tech saying that my computer was infected with more than 4,900 problems. They then told me that it costed me $299.99 to take care of the problems.
The thing that really got me was that I already had bought Panda for my computer and paid the same $299.99 for life time security and they removed this security system completely from my computer and said that what they were installing would make my computer run faster and that I would not have to worry about any more problems. I just want to let you know that my computer doesn't run any faster than it did before I purchased their product. To me I feel that they scammed me and now I have to worry about my computer being hacked into and I receive pop ups saying that I need to buy an AVG 2014 full version to take care of my problems that I am having.

Baby 51... I did the same thing Aug 13 2014. Same situation. Infected computer. I paid $299.99 to Althim Tech. Receiving calls constantly (even now) saying my computer will be shut down in a couple of weeks, etc. I believe I was scammed out of $300.00 also. Not sure what to do about it!

You can report this to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations. You can also report to your state Attorney General’s office. If you're getting repeated calls from the same company, tell them to put you on their do not call list.

I receive these these calls all the time that my computer has problems with my computer, I ignore them. I hang up on them.

recently I received "Your computer is near capacity full" Offers to solve the "Problem".
Sound to me that the fish died several weeks ago.

SCAMS ONLINEDESK30@YAHOO.COM- PHONE 924-66502 OR 924665-01 - JAMESH HUDDLESTO@YAHOO.COM - THEY OFFER WORK WITH GOUNVOUR GROUP INC. WIH A CONTRACT WHICH IS AN ILEGAL SCAM.

SCAM ALERT FROM 732-873. THEY ASKED YOU TO CHANGE YOUR PASSWORD FOR SECURITY BECAUSE HAS BEEN SCAM, PROVIDE YOU WITH ACCOUNTS FROM ALL THE MEMBER THAT YOU HAVE IN YOUR COMPUTER.

When I have the time, I get amusement from leading these people on, acting like I am following their instructions, but having trouble doing so. When they get to the point where I have to go to a web site or download software - I then explain that I am an IT professional and *click*, the phone line goes dead.

I do the same exact thing. Act like I have no idea what I am doing, keep mumbling under my breath about my husband bought this stupid thing, and then they usually hang up lol.

I received a phone call from a wireless caller 602-904-5457 from what I assume is a robo dialer since when I answered the call it immediately rang another phone and the person who answered with an accent that sounded like he was from India said that he was from Microsoft Support and that I had a problem with me PC which at that point I said that I new this was a scam and hung up.

May 28, 2015 - I also received a call from "602-904-5457" and the same thing happened. After saying "hello" I was transferred to another line and this time a woman, who sounded Indian, answered. It seems my computer had been infected with very serious viruses and was told I needed to go to my computer and she would direct me to the viruses. I said I was no where near my computer but would check my anti-virus program and she hung up. This afternoon, "they" called back and I didn't answer.

I have gotten these scam techs for over a year!They have gotten worse! At least 4 calls a day! 478-225-4878 is the latest number used!Just filed a complaint! Why can't anything be done? I have been on the Do not call list since it's inception and re-entered several times! Nothing works!So dang frustrated!!

I reported the ones claiming to be Microsoft and now they still call but block their number. Without a number you can't report on donotcall.gov.

What about other scammers & hackers who get away with soft talkin woman, they r in love with them after short time, then claim they r stranded after finishing a job in other countries, Nigeria/South Africa , so on. get woman to send alot of money thru 2 o 3 yrs time, yadda yadda, ends up thewoman ends up getting arrested for scammer & hacker crimes,,,,,Beware to all woman; scammers "Andrew (Diem) Miles, & Bil Miltin....." both scammers

Last year, we posted the blog Looking Online for Your Valentine? to alert consumer about online dating scams. Check it out! Also, you can read this article for more information and to get tips on how to recognize a scam artist.

Unfortunately, my father fell for the scam of having problem with his computer. He was taken for a few hundred dollars. After we figured out it was a scam, they still call and try to get into our computer on a monthly basis. They call us all hours of the day and late night. They have even called back to tell us they want to refund the money, they only have to get into the his computer to do this.

I still cannot believe that people are still allowing themselves to be sucked into those scams.

1) do NOT let anyone, you don't know get/connect to your computer, unless you call them for support

2) do NOT send money to anyone, if they call you out of nowhere or contact you through the internet.

3) do NOT give out your banking/credit card details to anyone who calls you out of nowhere, or contact you through the internet.

I have been receiving 4 calls a day from 832-370-1111 claiming my computer is infected with viruses and they want access to my computer. I blocked one number and now they call from a different one. FTC got the next call.

I am concerned about an anti-spam program that I had recently purchased, from a gentleman who sounded like he was from India.
He then transferred me to another man who sounded like he was from India. They showed me a long list of malware that was on my computer, had gotten around my Kaspersky, had told me that Kaspersky is only an antivirus program and does not deal with malware. I'm afraid that is not true. I have to continue my investigation, to confirm its validity. I could kick myself for purchasing their anti-malware program in the first place! It was $267 for two computers with no limit of any expiration date. He had said he was with Microsoft, also. I could really use some help so that I can unravel this possible mess that I've gotten myself into. I will try the www.ic3.gov and the FTC, if I feel that it's necessary. I am very uneasy about this program, and it's salespersons. I have a growing concern that they have also put something on both of my computers to allow them access to my computer, at any time! The more that I had read people's comments the more concerned I have become. Thank you FTC for these warning emails! Very much appreciated. MJSS

Hope our government collect these fines and complete shut them down had the same problems as everyone else THANK

Scammers keep calling saying they are from Microsoft Support. Saying our computer keeps sending error messages and that we need to purchase "fix" to stop this. The number they are using is 971-567-3475. Person on other end is a male with a heavy Middle Eastern/Indian accent. Told them I know that it is a scam and that I was reporting them!

Every day I get calls supposedly from Microsoft (who never make phone calls to people), Medic Alert Systems, solar systems, lowering my electric bills, etc. Some of these calls are preceded by what I chose to refer to as "sentry calls". When I answer the phone there is no one on the other end and then the line disconnects. Shortly thereafter, I usually receive a call from an individual with a foreign accent wanting to scam me. Today I received a call from a person who spoke entirely in another language! The Do Not Call list is worthless, as are complaints to your telephone carrier. I used to *69 the calls, but now the recording informs me that "the number for the last person you called is unknown". Aside from using disposable cell phones, the scammers have now learned to block their numbers. Caller ID is also worthless. When you answer the phone, if you hear a pause prior to someone speaking, or if it's someone you don't know, SIMPLY HANG UP!

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