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FTC’s Tech Support Takedown 2019

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We read you loud and clear! Last year, the FTC got nearly 143,000 reports about tech support scams. We’ve been warning people about this type of scam for years. But one piece of information in the FTC’s newest Consumer Protection Data Spotlight was an eye-opener. People 60 and over were about five times more likely than younger people to tell us they lost money on this scam, even though they were less likely than younger people to say they lost money to many other types of scams.

The FTC has brought many cases against tech support scammers, including our case just announced against Elite IT. With our law enforcement partners at the Department of Justice, other federal and state offices, and international colleagues, we’re fighting to protect older adults. And this is all part of the largest-ever nationwide elder fraud sweep focusing on tech support fraud.

But that’s not all. Visit ftc.gov/techsupportscams to see, hear, and read how to help the people you care about spot and avoid these scams – and get tips on what to do if you were scammed. Need a quick, shareable (and printable) snapshot on how to spot tech support scams? Check out our tech support scam infographic.

And, because we save the best for last, check out our new video – a compelling first-person account of how Mr. Donald Holmes of Arizona faced a tech support scam, and what he did about it.

older man describing a tech support scam

Spotted a tech support scam? Report it at ftc.gov/complaint. And after you report it, use this handy information from ftc.gov/passiton to talk to your family and friends about what happened so they can avoid it too.

Comments

I AM A RETIRED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER, WITH 29 YEARS OF SERVICE. I HAVE HAD OVER 300 OF THESE FRAUD, SCAM, FAKE TECH SUPPORT ILLEGAL CALLS. I HAVE SENT IN HUNDREDS OF COMPLAINTS TO THE FEDERAL FTC, FCC, ATTORNEY GEN. OFFICE AND ALL LOCAL STATES AUTHORITIES. I AM ALSO HELPING OTHER PEOPLE ON THIS AND OTHER SCAMS. I WILL ABSOUTELY TESTIFY IN ANY USA COURT, TO PUT THESE ILLEGALS, SCAMMERS AND FRAUD IDIOTS IN PRISON AND MAKE THEM PAY MILLIONS.!!!

i HAVE BEEN TAKEN BEFORE... $250.00 WORTH! i BELIEVED MY COMPUTER HAD A VIRUS... NOT! THEY HAD COME THROUGH THE BACK DOOR! PORT REMOTE . STILL NEVER COLLECTED MY $$$$$BACK NO ITS ROBOT SCAM

I was scammed out of 53310.00 last May from someone pretending to be from Coinbase. I had money in an account to invest in cryptocurrency and got a phone call from someone from the tech support of Coinbase and said they would help me invest in the correct crypto and within 30 seconds they had my money. No law enforcement in my town knows how to handle this as crypto is relatively new to people. I have all the web addresses, etc from my computer but can't find anyone to help me. Any suggestions? This really put me in a financial bind as that was my life savings. Thank you for listening

this is what happened to me 4 years ago, and they still keep calling me. They do not care that I told them I contacted the FTC and reported them for fraud and harassment. They also opened up Venmo accounts and started draining my checking account. What a nightmare. I am older also we tend to be more trusting.

Sorry to hear that.I am new to all this but I think mine is moreso a stalker.They are toying with me.They have used my bank cards in witch I cancelled.They are using .y name I'm emails I did not set up .They are preventing me from doing things I need to do on my phone.They stop me from sending out until after they have read it same with what comes in.I tried placing a police report but the officers said there was nothing they coul do.I think I know who it is but no one wants to listen or do anything about it.This has been going on since end of April or May but I didn't notice til end of July.I can't really get through to no one cause they keep locking me down and to do a complete complaints you have to enter you personal info and I'm too scared it will go to the wrong person.It is also happening remotely to me.I feel dumb,helpless and worthless because I can't help myself and fix this problem I cry bout every night because of what's going on and I beg good to please put a stop to this .I just wish there was something I could do bout it.

I am a retired 64 year old who was tricked onto checking a box for "Mackeeper", thinking it was and Official Mac (Apple) suggestions.
Thereafter, I was repeatedly PLAGUED by unsolicited "Pop-Ups".
The pop-ups persisted and ousted me from whatever I was viewing on my MacBook Air. It was frustrating and aggravating to be booted out of my intended site over and over again, and then the "history" of what I was looking at, was replaced with "Mackeeper", sometimes listed 20 times in a matter of minutes!
So, each time I tried to return to a site, I'd be booted out again.
I eventually had to take my lap-top to be debugged from the scammers who call themselves "Mackeeper", who are NOT affiliated with Mac/Apple Company. I urge my fellow retirees, and everyone else.... be careful what you click on, even if it appears to be legitimate... it probably isn't!

The EXACT same thing happened to me a couple of years ago, except that at the same time that they locked my screen, there was a LOUD penetrating buzz coming from my computer which was doubly confounding. They were pretending to be my Norton Anti-virus support team and by calling the number which they provided, I gave them access to my computer. By the time he got around to asking for 300.00 to clear viruses and unlock my compurpter, I realized that I had been duped and refused to give him money. After that we received numerous phone calls on a regular basis until the calls became less frequent. Yes, I am a senior citizen!

Why are people over 60 more vulnerable to this scam? You don't qualify this article. This scam has been around for years. I would have been more likely to fall for this when it first started around 10 years ago, when I was in my 50s.

Thank you (again)

Getting calls claiming they are ssa

Thank you so much for the update. Tech Support scammers have been stealing from computer users for years.

Thank you for this information and I have forwarded it to my siblings in their 50's and 60's and even to my Mom who in her late 80's as she also uses her computer regularly. A special thank you to Mr. Holmes who graciously shared his story. No doubt his willingness to do so will help protect others.

$ yrs ago had the same thing happen. I paid the ransom and every year since they call me and tell me different violations are happening on my comp. Some times when they ask for me I tell them she's not home. When they call back they say someone just got on line in another state and they want to fix it. I told him its ok its my daughter and hang up. I have given all kinds of excuses,
theres no way to get out of their system. I'm also a senior citizen in AZ.

A real hero for us the elder statespersons Is that even a word?

Thank you for this information. I have received these scams too, but luckily ignored them.

I had some instances where I had problems with my computer.I have a hp computer and also it gave me info to talk to a technician.I would tell them my problem and they would direct me by telefone as what to do to correct it.Then they would try to sell me support for a yearly basis I heard that and said I could not aford that and hung up.I am more aware now as how to fix my own computer with no help.

Please check out SRS IT Services LLC and 365 Tech Care. I believe I was scammed out of $3000.00 and want to recover that money from SRS IT Services LLC.

To report a problem to the FTC, go to www.FTC.gov/Complaint. You can give details about your experience and the information will go into the secure database the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations.

The comments you send to this blog do not go into the law enforcement database.

I was scammed by a company in India called Karma Systems and Software, Kingston 10 01. Very Professional and knowledgeable.

They talked me into a 3 year contract for all of my "Smart Electronic Devices" I fortunately put their charge of $400.00 on my Credit Card.

Some days later they called and said their Software was not compatible with my Apple Computer and said they would refund my money.

Then they sent a refund of $4,000.00 Then called and told me they could not reverse the transaction and asked me to get "Gift Cards" at Walmart and call them with the numbers and Pin's on the back.

I did what they asked but Walmart suspected Fraud and withheld the funds. Then I was asked to find other gift cards. I purchased an Amazon Gift Card by mistake and they could not use it, I was then asked to send money by Western Union but they said it could not be delivered to the address given.

Then I discovered that their money had been taken out of my checking by them and money was transferred from my Savings account to cover the purchase of the requested Gift Cards and Western Union Transaction.

So Far the Bank has been unable too find the Phantom Deposit of $ 4,000. to and from the Checking.

I have canceled the old Checking and Savings accounts and changed my Credit Card accounts hoping that "Back Door" access can be prevented in the future !

Thanks for the good information. I wish you could help get at least some of my money back.

I need to report a scam but cant figure out how to! It has to do with un-asked for magazine subscriptions.

You could call the FTC to report the scam. You will talk to a person who will take your report when you dial 1-877-382-4357.

And just how are you to rid your computer on the hold the fraudsters have on it?

This FTC article about Malware tells how to detect and get rid of malicious viruses and spyware on your computer.

Thank you! It means so much!

I have one simple rule. I never do business with someone who solicits business or wants my credit card over the phone. As a senior myself, I trust nobody I do not know.

Fortunately, I have a son, who is a writer and school teacher who knows alot more about computers than I, as a senior citizen. So, if I feel something is not quite right when something pops up on my screen,I request he investigate.I did know that Social Security or Medicare do not use telephone calls to contact you anytime and I was able to avoid those calls.I did have a problem with medicare for all sorts of back braces,etc.being shipped to me without my authorization.It was a mightmare but I reported this to medicare, who had paid for them, and we managed to get medicare their money back.These telemarkerters need to get a REAL job and stop harassing people, partucularly senior citizens.

Telemarketers of this kind shun legitimate employment because it means they have to work. They will opt instead to scam people and steal money from unsuspecting people, mostly the elderly and anyone else who don't have the ability to fix problems on their own.
It is easier for them to do this because they are lazy and their only responsibility is to themselves. They need to GO TO JAIL.

The mini-video on scamming is very effective. Could you possibly send it in a different format so that we could copy and save it on a flash drive for showing to large groups.

We're happy that you like the video and would like to share it. To see different formats, go to the video's home page: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/media/video-0181-how-avoid-tech-support-scam.

Directly below the video display, you'll see the words "Description" and "Downloads."  Click on Downloads, and you'll see three different format choices. You can save the video file to your flash drive, just like you would save a document file.

If you have questions, please send another comment.  Remember that we have free handouts about fraud prevention and other topics at www.FTC.gov/Bulkorder.

I submitted a complaint about numerous calls from a scammer, identifying themselves as Apple, INC. they call at numerous times during the day. I am recuperating from several surgeries I've had since September 13, 2018. The number, they had been calling from came up 408-996-1010; now they're calling again and number comes up, Apple, Inc. 949-325-5426. They actually called today, twice and this is Sunday! We had been scammed several years ago; so I know not to fall for this one. The first time they called, I answered and they started telling me they found malicious spyware on my IPad and IPhone. Apple Does Not call people, if you're having trouble with your device, you have to call Apple! I notified Apple about this. I just wanted to make people aware of this.

I’ve had several calls
Over the years. First it was windows support, now Apple/ iCloud support. The number they call from even says Apple Inc. I called the number back and it goes to an Apple store in another state, the woman who answered informed me that Apple will not call people! The same thing with windows they will not call you. It’s so frustrating because they keep calling me now several times a day

Hello, I have been scammed by GreenfieldsCapital.com who lost my life savings of £12000 in a matter of days. I don't believe their trading platform to be real. They seem to control if you win or lose and they deliberately told me to trade in investments they knew were rubbish just to lose all my money as I said I wanted out. I believe what they are doing is illegal (its certainly immoral). They would shout and scream at me . Tell me to trust them and continually asked for more money to join the next group up etc. When I said i just wanted to take it slow and recoup my deposit, they put it on trades they knew would fail just to get rid of me. I got helped by an expert organization of wealth and funds recovery

I hate to admit that I fell for this a couple of years ago. I'm a retired former construction business owner that employed over 25 people and think I'm computer savvy. But the red pop up box and warning seemed so real and serious. . . I called the number and talked to this "helpful" male that used perfect English. No hint of a foreign accent! Gave him my credit card information to pay the fee. One time clean up - or clean up and a year warranty - or clean up with extended warranty that was the best value for the amount. He took over my computer and I sat and watched as it scrolled through files. Fortunately my adult son just happened to stop by and asked why I was staring at my computer. When I explained to him that my computer was infected with some virus, he immediately told me to turn it off - that it was a scam. Shortly thereafter the phone rang and the nice young man said he somehow lost connection. I told him I had changed my mind and had intentionally turned it off - that he should credit my money back. He asked how I was going to get rid of the virus. When I told him I thought there really wasn't one - he swore there was and he was with a legitimate company, only trying to help me, etc., etc., etc. My son grabbed the phone and proceeded to slowly, firmly, very intentionally inform this person (I can't now remember his name) that what he was doing was illegal, that he was taking advantage of his elderly mother and if he dared to let the charges go through on my credit card it would be another crime for which he would be reported and prosecuted. I had taken all kinds of notes such as the amounts to be charged, his name, and everything he had told me. Nothing ever showed on my credit card statement and my computer was not damaged. We reversed what ever it was that I had done to allow him to take control. Since that time I have twice experienced the Pop-up warning, this last time with an annoying sound. It also warns you that if you turn off your computer you will wipe the hard drive clean and lose everything. I took that chance anyway since nothing else seemed to make the warning go away. The warning was still present when I turned it back on. So, the second time I turned it off, I waited over an hour before restarting the computer. It was OK. It's the same laptop I'm using today. I told all my friends - and I hope writing this will help if it happens to you.

But how do you get them to stop calling and bothering you after 2 years of these same callers?

I just had this happen to me....the same thing - my computer said there was a virus...couldn't get rid of it until I call the "Microsoft" number. Unfortunately, they sounded so "authenic"...I let them "remote in" to my computer. Thank God I hung up without giving them any critical information - but I'm scared to do ANYTHING on my computer now! Even sending this!

This they want to "Refund my money, because they are going out of business" The Tech Cons never stop, do they? How much longer will these con-artist continue to harass us? Is there anything the government and consumers can do to get rid of this threat? I have fallen prey to this thing before, not a good feeling!

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