FTC cracks down on tech support scams

screen shot showing "errors" on computer“Your computer is damaged ... we’ll help you fix it.” It’s the latest twist on tech support scams: Scammers sell software online that claims to increase your computer’s performance. They lure you to their websites with pop-up ads or web searches. Then, they tell you to call a phone number to activate or register the software. On the phone, they ask for remote access to your computer and then tell you that your computer has many errors that need to be fixed immediately.

It’s all part of their plan to sell you bogus “security” or “technical support” products or services. Really, your computer is fine. They want to charge you – possibly hundreds of dollars – for software and services that you don’t need and that doesn’t help.

The FTC sued several of these phony tech support companies – New York-based Pairsys, Florida-based Inbound Call Experts (ICE) and Florida-based Vast Tech Support – for misrepresenting that they found security or performance issues on consumers’ computers. At the FTC’s request, three federal judges halted these alleged scams pending trial. 

What can you do to avoid similar tech support scams?

  • Don’t give control of your computer to someone who says they need to activate software. Instead, look carefully at the software instructions to learn how to activate the software yourself.
  • Don’t give control of your computer to someone who calls you out of the blue claiming to be from tech support. Instead, hang up and call the company at a number you know to be correct.
  • Never provide your credit card information, financial information, or passwords to someone who claims to be from tech support.
  • Learn how to protect your computer from malware.

 

 

What if you think you might be a victim of one of these tech support scams?

  • If you paid for bogus tech support services or software with a credit card, then call your credit card company to reverse the charges.
  • If you think someone may have accessed your personal or financial information, then learn more about how to lower your risk for identity theft.
  • Get rid of malware that the fraudsters may have installed. Download legitimate security software and delete anything that it finds as a problem.
  • Change any passwords that you gave out. If you use the same passwords for other accounts, then change those too.
  • If you think you may be a victim of a tech support scam, let us know.

The FTC’s website has more information about how to spot and stop tech support scams.

Comments

I have had these calls several times over the past year-some even claim they are with microsoft. I fell for it one time and they added tons of viruses and then wanted me to pay 499.99 I just hung up the phone and shutdown my system

I just hung up from a scammer of this nature. After telling him I wasn't falling for this, he began saying sexually disgusting things to me like I have never heard before! I told him I was reporting to the FCC, but he just laughed. Went to make a call a few minutes later and he was still on my line and erupted into even more filth. I have the number he called from, but I don't know where to turn it in. Or if it would help. Anyone know?

I started with my local police department. They referred me to Homeland Security, and that is where I obtained help. Homeland Security referred me also to the Federal Trade Commission. This is a good way to combat these people who are nothing better than pond scum.

Why do you feel a need to insult pond scum?

Look up & call the FTC.

Yes, the number does help the FCC they are blocking the number now. I have received the same call many times and after I argue about them miss using Microsoft brand and license they cussed me out too.

Wow, I just had the same issue with a guy named "stephen" from a company called Tech Vantedge. This guy called me names like you wouldn't beleive. Just filed a complaint with FTC.

I TOO, HAVE FALLEN VICTIM TO THESE SCAM ARTISTS! THEY HAVE TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF ME TWICE. I REPORTED THEM MYSELF. I HAD A CALL FROM THEM JUST THE OTHER DAY, I ANSWERED THE PHONE, PLACED IT ON SPEAKER AND JUST LET THEM TALK TO THE AIR. FUNNY THING ABOUT THEM IS, THEY ARE ALL THE SAME NATIONALITY, THEY ALL CALL YOU SAYING THEY ARE SO-AND-SO, AND THEY ALL SOUND JUST ALIKE! MICHAEL WAS THE ONE I GOT THAT BOTHERED ME THE MOST. WE HAD HEATED CONVERSATIONS EVERY TIME THEY CALLED ME. LIKE A DUMMY, THE VERY FIRST TIME THEY CALLED ME, I FELL VICTIM TO THEM BECAUSE I WAS HAVING ISSUES WITH MY COMPUTER, BUT IT WAS NOTHING THEY WOULD FIX, IT WAS JUST THEY'RE WAY OF GETTING MY INFORMATION. I HAD TO CHANGE A LOT OF PASSWORDS AFTER THAT FIRST TIME OF BEING STUPID!

Well it seems to get worse with our current administration. People have got to speak up, start writing and calling your idiot congress and senators. The government spends so much wasted time and big time money on projects that can wait or maybe not even needed. People need to wake up and think, if we can put a man on the moon, run cars with no gas and all the other great things we do but we cannot stop this? We have to go through a darn bunch of senseless morons who dont seem to care. Very upsetting to me. What are we getting for or taxes? Close to nothing. There needs to be a panel constructed to make these decisions and get it out of our political morons need to step away.

You have no idea how this works. Even if the government were to launch a full scale investigation on this, they still can't pinpoint where the calls are coming from. These are folks who are using software to automatically dial phone numbers and have software to mask incoming calls. The person calling you is most likely some poor Indian who is trying to make money to eat. The IT guy is at a different location and most likely can't be tracked.

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