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

But still companies are active and daily scamming lots of customer not only in US canda but also in australia and other countries. Is it possible to stop completly this type of scam?

I've been getting calls like the above from an Indian speaking man in the past several months! Today, I got 3 calls. lst call said my computer is compromised, when I asked what Company they from, I GOT NO ANSWER yet just trying to tell me my computer compromised so I said take me off you list and don't call me anymore. 2nd call, Within minutes later, same guy, saying he from Microsoft and my information is being compromised, when I said how do I know you from Microsoft, he hung up the phone. 3rd call, Indian guy, said he from Comcast, he verified my email address actually in which concerned me. I stayed on the line briefly to which he said, open your computer for me and I will prompt you through the process to fix your computer against people that are trying to steal your identity and also are sending crude emails from my email account he said other unknown people getting from my email? He said are you aware of this? Then he asked if I know anyone in NY or CA? he continued to say, hackers got my information from NY or CA and he must fix this problem fro me again asked me to open my computer to go through the prompts to fix the problem. I said if you from Comcast, I'll just write down what you want to tell me on a writing tablet, but I'm not going to open my computer no. I'll then run what you tell me to write down and give it to my own IT Tech. He said sorry mamam, we cannot tell you how to fix computer over the phone when writing down as everything recorded and not secure. I said what's the difference if I open my computer or write what you tell me down instead? I then said, I don't believe you are from Comcast, I believe you are the scammer and he hung up and the call was ended. These people just never give up! Total acam. Scarry part is that he did have my correct email address. I just said I don't have that email in many years! The calls I got today no incoming phone number showed up. So I can't report any number. In any event, everyone should be careful and not give out any information if someone says they are from Microsoft or Comcast,etc,etc.

I just got this, it's disturbing. It appeared be a scam, they claimed to Apple computer contacting me, they said my computer was locked, because of detection of malware and adware on my computer, blah blah blah, and said to call Apple at 877 398 5247. One disturbing thing was that i was not able to use my computer, i was stuck on the fake website in Safari, the website url was soemthing Mac-Apple_error.in.x or somethng like that, and i could not get off of that page with the warning alert thing on it,i couldn't bring another webpage to the front, neither in safari or in another program. i wanted to google this apparent scam, but they had done something were my computer was "locked" and i couldn't us it. Then, i force quit Safari. Then i started back up again and an even more elaborate scam page came up, with a very long alert message, repetitively talking about the dangers this posed to me, immediate dangers and i had to call "Apple" at the same number. This alert was agianst the background of a page that on it, Powered By Apple, with a big white Apple log on it. And again, i couldn't use the Safari browser, i was stuck on this page. I opened Chrome and it showed an odd page about virus protection on the the page that opened. Then i was able to get google and then i found this discussion.
I also, against my better judgement, called the scam number. First i turned off my caller ID. i wanted to see if it was in fact an Apple number. Instead of "Thank you for Calling Apple on the auto answer voice," it had a more generic "Please hold for the next available agent. So, i hung up, feeling certain it wasn't Apple. Then almost immediately, my phone rang, with caller ID still turned off, and it was an Indian sounding guy, and when i asked why he was on my phone, he said that he had gotten a call from me but he wasn't able take the call and now he was calling back to find out what i wanted. i said that i don't know who he is or why he's calling. He said "We are Premium Technical Support." i asked why he was calling me. i said why? He said "I don't know, maybe you got a message on your computer?" I said that i got a message telling me to call Apple with this number and i said "you're not Apple." He said 'yes, we are a company that works with Apple to do technical support." So i said, "OK, i will call Apple to check on this and will call you back." He immediately hung up. Unfortunately, every time i try to re-open Safari, it opens that same scam page as the top page and i can't get to any other page. They are literally blocking and locking up my browser so that i can't use it at all. I will keep playing with this, i guess ill try rebooting the computer, this makes me so mad, one, that they have made my browser not usable and i am going to lose stuff i was working on, or have already lost it, and two, they got my caller ID even though i had it blocked. Who do i report thiese people to? Is there some kind of phone police? They are clearly not in this country, apparently in India because the website ends in .in and the guy's accent sounds indian. i just want to report them to whoever might be able to look into them, if possible.

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.

Blog comments don't go into the database.

my family from canada i usually take remote of their computer & do the cleanup & chk their computer for problems & help them out with software but today i took remote there was a adware or malware in your computer system your computer is locked blah .... .... To fix dial toll free number 1877 398 5247 well if I or you having same pop up / ransom ware u call this number it will be a sales pitch why don't FTC do something abt it

You can tell the FTC about the problem you had. Report this to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

Blog comments don't go into the database.

 

I have received calls from these elusive Indian scammers several times within the past month. Complained to the FTC about it, they're powerless to stop them because the calls are from overseas. Finally called my phone company, who placed a blocking device on my phone to block one number. However, they hide behind another NYC area code number to call me, and I block that, although I told the guy he had the wrong number when he called. The area codes are 212 and 646. I feel that this is more than a standard crime. It's terrorism, and the perpetrators have to be brought to justice.

I couldn't agree more -- it IS terrorism. But it's not just international; it's also domestic. All they need to destroy your life is a free account with Tor. Then no one, not even the FTC, can help you.

You can add Mashpoint.com to your list of scammers. Their name is included in blue screen popups, and the number on their website leads to "Indian accent" Microsoft technicians who will sell you free MacAfee software for $100.

I am so tired of these calls! Why can't they stop them!

Number from a fake malware scam site. It claims your computer is infected and plays some MP3 in background with really loud, shrilly voice, and tries to convince you to call this number. Don't do it! They'll try to pull the security alert scam - good thing I block Javascript by default! If you look for "Your personal and financial information might be at risk" on Google, you find tons of examples of this and people reporting it! BTW: "CAPTCHA session reuse attack detected"?

My iPad just showed the blue screen virus "debug browser spyware 895-system 32.exe." It said contact apple support at 855.866.8528. I did and some guy from India tried to get my credit card "to fix the problem". I hung up... but beware that this happens on iPads too.

We just experienced the exact scam as everyone else, a company claiming to be Microsoft and then referring us to SAPPHIRE SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS (888-573-4222)to fix our infected laptop. We fell for it and paid them $199. We are now working with our credit card company to dispute this transaction. Feel so stupid we were sucked in to believe this was real! We're smarter than that! Lesson learned. We will be reporting this to the FTC as well.

I was browsing in Chrome when I got a pop-up warning that my Surface 3 had a virus. Several warnings and a loud bell. One said to call 855-527-6316 for MS approved technician to help fix the problem. I could not turn off the loud bell or exit any of the error windows. I called the number and allowed the technician to remotely access my computer. He told me I needed to purchase software "Realtime Protection" from Best Buy for $120 and I needed an FSO for $300. I became suspicious and told him I needed to call him back later. He gave me a call-back number 855-580-0831. Restarted my laptop. It booted OK. I'm concerned that he did harm to my tablet or stole information or installed a virus. I store all my files in the "cloud", and use Windows 10 Defender so I think my financial and credit card information is safe. I do not allow any browsers or online stores to save any passwords. I feel stupid that I was so gullible. The pop-ups looked legit. The "tech" guy was really slick but not too slick to make me suspicious -- at first. I would like to report this to the FTC, but not sure, since I didn't suffer any financial damage.

I received a call today from these same people calling to say they were from Viatitech Support.

Phone#:8662970833
Caller: Jack Root (when I refused to answer after hanging up after being scammed: he referred to himself as Chris Martis in the voicemail with the number:18006805162)

Recently I had bought internet security because my computer was having major issues and still is. Like a gullible fish I took the bait. He was offering to install Microsoft Defender onto my computer to fix issues that were pinged to their tech support. After being ripped 100 He took control of my computer sent a email to himself about me willfully buying the item and proceeded to mess with and install things onto my computer! I am disappointed in myself for not going with my gut feelings, and I have immediately canceled my card, changed my passwords, and have logged a complaint to FTC.

I received a call today saying they were from Dell support. They knew all the information about my laptop. Was Dell hacked? They said my IP address was compromised and being used by scammers around the world. He wanted me to give him access to my computer. I said no and hung up.

I fell for this scam. It was a company names Ewinsoftech that scammed me out of $100.00. I disputed the transaction, got a new debit card, and reported this incident already. Although, what can they do with my information (they didn't get my ssn) and how can I prevent it?

You can read about what to do if your information was lost or exposed.

This guy with number of 844-887-3598 is a scammer. Block his nnumber

Hi, I spoke to Kaushik on the phone and let him take over my computer. I was suspicious when he used a program called any desk to do it. He swears he did not steal any info from my computer, but i can not be sure.

This article tells what to do if you may have allowed a criminal to have access to your computer.

If you bought in to their scam before, you will be on their calling list. I blocked all of their numbers, pretended to be someone else without a computer. Finally, they called on my private home line, which infuriated me and I told them never to call this number again. Luckily when I was scammed about a year ago, I kept all of the information of the company. It doesn't matter what the company name is, they change it frequently. I called the one of the numbers listed, got Kathleen, and asked her to take me off their calling list. She said she would....so, we shall see!!!

tech support scam - 18883113841. Please beware

Got a call from 1 888 311 3841 claiming they are Dell Tech support

Hi FTC, I would appreciate if you could modify the information to include above what consumers who were scammed need to be aware of, to protect themselves (a WHAT TO DO IF), as you are probably in the best position to know, since you get the related complaints.

For instance, vene if one changes all passwords to relevant account immediately afterward, has there been any indication that while those thieves had control over the scammed individuals' computers, files were stolen, which led to subsequent ID theft. So basically, depending on how far the scam went, what additional precautins do the victims have to take. Delete the downloaded file for the remotecontrol acccess, I guess that's obvious, in my case, it was in the downloads folder. Virusscan the computer, malware scan the computer, obvious. Reformat and reinstall entire computer? Engage ID theft monitoring service?

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.

Why doesn't the FBI or interpol close down these scams (just got one of the fake IRS calls this morning).....they always use indians probably calling from india via a switcher in the US.....which is why it's difficult to shut them down, but it's gotta be an international crime....get interpol involved....it's very annoying...

I have been getting phone call the person will not give their name they said that they are from the credit bureau and they said that they are going to get warranty for me if I don't call the telephone number back. I want to know how I can stop these calls.

If you're getting multiple calls from the same number, you could try call blocking. This FTC article has information about call blocking. You can also call your phone service provider and ask if it offers call blocking.

A senior friend of mine, who has a computer was called by a computer tech scammer. When she was called and asked to get on her computer, she would say "what computer? I'm 83 years old and don't have a computer." After a couple of conversations like this, the scammers quit calling, ha ha ha ha.

If you gave them access to your computer, and you still have any access to your computer, immediately turn off Remote Access. You can Google how to do this for your computer setup. If you upset them and they still have access to your computer, they can destroy it!

I logged on to my computer Oct 8, 2016 and the screen had stuff flying all over. It was replaced by a notice to call 877-694-1841 and since I could not move the cursor, I called.

They claimed to be Microsoft Techs, very thick accents and without thinking it through, they took control of my computer and after about 2 hours later it was "fixed". Two of the names I wrote down was Bob Sullivan and Steve Jerry with accents. They "gave" me a guarantee of a year of $444.72. Does anyone know if this legit? I've already called the credit card company and my bank to see if I can alert them that this may be a scam. I can't believe I was so gullible.

It's likely that this is a scam. Please report it to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

About 15 minutes ago, a pop-up tech support from "microSoft" popped up. I finally was able to get to this screen to report it.

Since these scams are clearly a form of extortion, I don't understand why Federal agencies continue to allow them to exist. It seems obvious to me that it would be very easy to identify, arrest and prosecute these scum scammers. Some of these are now attached to facebook pages as "sponsored links" on the sidebar. Its time we shut down this continued practice once and for all - come on Feds DO YOUR JOB!

hi i was victim of this scammer.
i have tried to get my money back but my bankers want to know what those scammers promised to install in my computer so that the bankers can claim the money back. but i forgot what they even promised me to have installed into my pc. somebody help please, i have some time to call back my bankers about it.

Has anyone dealt with MyTechAdvise. I called them a couple of months ago and they told me that Norton Security didn't protect your computer if you had windows 10. Well, I fell for it and paid for 5 years protection with unlimited support. I felt that they were legit. Now tonight I got a pop-up that my computer had been blocked and to call a certain number. I got someone with an Indian accent who said his name was Jack Wilson (lol)from something called www. webio-tech-help. He told me that MyTechAdvise was bogus and he wanted to fix my computer for $127.95. So I called MyTechAdvise (which I should have done in the first place) and they cleaned out my computer by using Malwarebytes which is a free program. They seem to be helping me but I'm still not sure if I didn't pay for something I didn't need. The tech said that if you get the pop-up "Your computer has been locked..." you should just re-boot the computer. Any thoughts and/or advice?

This FTC article has information about malware and tips about what to do if someone installed malware on your computer.

My computer just froze with a box with a # to call so I did because it was completely frozen. They charged me $189.99 to fix it and take mu security off and put some other on. The next day another "tech" called and said I needed this $500.00 software to keep it from doing that again. I told him no-just put McAfee back on. I called the bank the next day and cancelled my debit card and filed a claim. When I tired to call the # back the call was rejected. I finally got another # off the internet and they told me they would refund y money if I would withdraw the claim! They all had heavy accents-one guy I could not even understand.

Unfortunately, my father fell victim to this same scam earlier this month.... After speaking with him today, I learned that while he was on his health insurance's dashboard - a pop up came OUT OF NOWHERE - claiming that he had a virus and to call the 1-800 # immediately. He ultimately was scammed out of $500 for a two year service contract. My father is elderly and is completely not familiar with computers - so when he saw the pop up claiming a virus - he panicking and called immediately.
The companies he spoke to were Webroot and Yes Tech - so beware!! My father won't take the initiative to have this resolved, so Im going to try and do anything to try and get this money back.

Thank you all for your help in the recent onslaught on telemarketing and unwanted solicitation calls. Live PC Solutions is still calling despite my being on the no call list, blocking unknown numbers, and every other precaution available to me. I'm once again reporting them to the FTC, and I urge everyone who has fallen victim or been targeted by them, to do the same while the agency is still available for the protection of the individual against dangerous schemes. ftc.gov/complaint

INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH THERE ARE MANY PEOPLE WHO HAVE RECEIVED SAME TYPE CALLS RE HAVING BEEN WITH MICROSOFT AND THEY WILL FIX? MY COMPUTER ... IN NOVEMBER,2016 I GAVE MY DEBIT CARD NUMBER AND THEY CHARGED ME $99.99 AFTER HAVING STARTED WITH $499.99 THEN $399.99 THEN $299.99 THEN $199.99 AND FINALLY WHEN I STATED I JUST DIDN'T HAVE THE MONEY THEY SAID HOW ABOUT $99.99 AND LIKE A TOTALLY DUMMIE I SAID OK ... DUHHHH HERE IT IS LESS THAN A YEAR LATER ... THAT PAYMENT FOR THEIR SERVICES FOR ONE YEAR ... THEY BEGAN ONCE AGAIN TO HAUNT ME WITH ONLINE AND TELEPHONE HARASSMENT ... TODAY THEY PHONED ME 6 TIMES WITH DIFFERENT TELEPHONE NUMBERS AND DID SAME YESTERDAY AND DID SAME ON SATURDAY ... THEY NEED TO BE STOPPED ... FOREVER ... ALL OF THEM HAD ACCENTS FROM EAST INDIA ... AND HAD FICTITIOUS NAMES ... I.E., PAUL? ETC. I CONTACTED THE FBI ONLINE AND SENT THEM MY REPORT AND THEN I CONTACTED BBB AND UPON COMPLETION I WAS NOT ABLE TO CLICK ON SUBMIT ... HENCE THEY NEVER RECEIVED IT ... ASIDE FROM ALL THE TELEPHONE NUMBERS I'VE RETRIEVED FROM THEM ... I CANNOT BELIEVE THAT I ACTUALLY ALLOWED THEM TO TAKE OVER MY COMPUTER VIA REMOTE I JUST HOPE THAT THEY NEVER ASK ME AGAIN ... THE LAST GUY SAID THAT IF I DON'T PAY THE $99.99 (BECAUSE THE ORIGINAL EXPIRED ... A LIE) I WILL NOT BE ABLE TO USE MY COMPUTER BUT WHEN I MENTIONED CONTACTING THE FBI TO STOP THIS FRAUD I HAVE ACTUALLY BEEN ABLE TO USE MY COMPUTER BUT TODAY AGAIN THEY SENT ME THAT HORRIFIC "I AM BLOCKING YOUR COMPUTER BECAUSE YOU HAVE 67,000 VIRUSES" ??? I'M REALLY STRESSING AND ALL OF THEM STATED THAT MICROSOFT WAS ONE OF THEIR CLIENTS <<< LIE

I'm AMAZED at how many people fall for this type of scam... I mean come on where is the common sense? Anyways, why are the SAME phone numbers still in operation? I've been watching youtube videos on people pranking the Scam phone number, and the same numbers have been around for YEARS, How many people need to get scammed before this is shut down? Where are you at FTC?

I just filed a report with the FTC against Geek Backer LLC and also filed a scam report with Microsoft Tech Support. Apparently, Geek Backer masquerades as or are in collusion with scammers who pretend they're Microsoft Support. Either Geek Backer or the 3rd party scammers they're working with use malware to put a pop-up window that looks like a valid Microsoft Support Web page on my web browser telling me that my computer was being blocked and would be disabled because it had been compromised and would mess up Microsoft's servers. At the bottom was an 844 area code number and under that was a legit-looking logo indicating that it was Microsoft support. I was in the middle of something and distracted and didn't pay close enough attention, so stupidly called the 844 number. A woman with a thick foreign accent asked for the error code on the message and then transferred me to a "Senior Technical Support Engineer" who also had a thick foreign accent. While I watched, he ran some diagnostics and pointed out the message in my command prompt: "trojan horse.... gateway". He told me that it wasn't my computer but rather my whole home network and all the devices connected to the home network that were compromised, then proceeded to do a netstat -p which showed some strings of alpha-numerics in the Foreign Address column. The "senior tech support engineer" told me that those strings meant Russian hackers and that I had to get the problem fixed and that since Microsoft doesn't deal with network issues, he was transferring me to Geek Backer LLC. I challenged him all the way not only because I have a secure router with high encryption but also because I felt that either my Internet provider or Best Buy's Geek Squad could deal with the problem. Somehow, he convinced me that they couldn't and that Geek Backer LLC is CISCO-certified. He also told me that it would cost me $700 to fix because it was a lengthy process, which I challenged. When he switched me to someone at Geek Backer, they quoted me a price of $999 and they switched me back to the other scammer when I challenged the price quote discrepancy, who then confirmed that it's $700 with a senior discount. This is a total scam because how do they know if someone is a senior? Apparently Geek Backer LLC preys on senior citizens. And, the first set of scammers I dealt with are very likely part of Geek Backer and tell you it's a network problem in order to drum up business for Geek Backer. Unfortunately, I stupidly allowed Geek Backer to remotely work on my computer, but after googling and realizing I had been scammed,I demanded that they get off of my computer immediately because I knew they were a scam, which the tech argued with me about. The tech then switched me to a supervisor who argued with me about cancelling. I told him that this is a scam and to get off of my computer immediately. I also told him that I'm not paying them a cent. The supervisor, who like all of the technicians, etc, has a thick foreign accent, then lowered the price to $199.99 because he stated that their technician had spent time working on my computer. I've even gotten a bill from them, but will ignore it on the advice of a real Microsoft Support technician who had to clean up my computer. I watched the real MS Support technician clean up my computer. He pointed out to me and got rid of the malware and spyware and other crap that the Geek Backer LLC tech put on my computer that could have either screwed up or slowed my computer down or even caused it to crash or worse. Fortunately, Geek Backer LLC asks you to pay by check, not credit card. So, they don't have my credit card info, and since I'm not paying them anything, they won't have my checking account info. either. I believe Geek Backer LLC has people pay by check, rather than credit card, because with a credit card,it takes awhile for payment to clear, and when you realize you've been scammed, the credit card company can stop payment. But with a check, it goes through immediately and there's no way to recoup the money since the transaction happens quickly. And fortunately, I don't keep financial info on my computer, and I watched the Geek Backer tech the whole time she was working on my computer and didn't see her clicking on files, etc. But, apparently she planted some malware, spyware, adware, etc on my computer, so easily could have retrieved info about me. But, the MS tech found the stuff that had been injected (he went deep into the operating system to find things) and deleted/cleaned it all out. So, hopefully, he didn't miss anything.

So, beware of Geek Backer LLC-- they are scammers or use 3rd party scammers as a front in order to drum up business. If you get a pop-up message on your browser from Microsoft, it's a scam because Microsoft doesn't do this. Ignore the message, but take a screenshot of it and report it to both Microsoft and to FTC.

I too was hacked exactly as described when I called Malawarebytes and then the next day Microsoft 800 number. Both answered ny Indians and asked for remote access. Am terrified now.They are messing with my computer constantly and calling all the time.

I have been a victim of this fraud also and have made a formal complaint with FTC. Clicked on e-mail link 4/24/17 -- entire computer screen lit up with verbal and written warnings (including a constant alarm sound) from "Microsoft" that I had been infected and must call now 888-203-6809 or my Microsoft service would be terminated. Allowed technician (strong India accent) to take control of computer. He showed me "infected files" -- viruses, malware, spyware, etc. To "clean" computer and protect it for 5 years, I paid $379.99. Sent an e-check made out to UnifiedSols. The free Chicka-PC Shield was loaded on my computer, as was a link to "on-line" help from Onsol Network. A internet savvy friend told me I'd been had. I stopped payment on the e-check, uninstalled "on-line" help from Onsol Network and the Chica PC shield, turned off remote access, changed passwords and scanned my computer. Yesterday I received a call supposedly from Northstar Location (debt collection) on my landline, probably because I stopped payment on the check before the scammers could cash it. I am embarrassed but wanted to warn others. Beware of Onsol Network and UnifiedSols. Apparently these scammers morph into different organizations to avoid being caught -- same scam, different entities. Do not let anyone gain remote access to your computer that you do not know.

Please report this to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. The information you give will go into a secure database to help the FTC and other law enforcement agencies with investigations.

The comments you put here on the blog don't go into the law enforcement database

Bridget: On 4/16/2017, I filed a report with the FTC about Geek Backer LLC and was given a reference number. I also posted something to this thread on 4/16 just to warn people about Geek Backer. The Microsoft Support team, which had to clean up the mess that Geek Backer LLC left on my computer(spyware and other files which would have had detrimental effects on my computer),verified that Geek Backer had scammed me and advised me not to pay them because they are a scam. And, at the request of the MS Support technician who worked on my computer in the wake of Geek Backer, I also filled out a scam survey at the MS Support site. After finding out that Geek Backer LLC is a scam, I blocked them from my email account and from my cellphone. However, despite blocking them from my cellphone, since 5/10, they have been leaving voice messages on my phone asking that I call them immediately and demanding that I pay them. I have ignored their voice messages because they scammed me into believing that there was a problem with my home network when there never really had been one. I don't intend to pay them for their scam. On 5/10, when I started receiving voice messages from Geek Backer, I filed another report with the FTC (referring to the reference number I was given for my 4/16 FTC report) about Geek Backer's harassing phone calls, and was assigned yet another reference number. Today (5/12/2017), I also filed a complaint with the Nevada Atty General's office-- Geek Backer LLC is located in Nevada. My question is: Even though you stated in your response to Embarrassed Ellen that the information from a report to the FTC goes into a secure law enforcement database, does the FTC actually look at the reports that are filed and do they ever contact the person who filed the report? Or, is it up to the person filing the report to contact the FTC and give them the reference number and ask for the status of the complaint they filed with the FTC? I only received and automated confirmation from the FTC that they had received my report along with the reference number. While I know that the FTC has many of these types of scams that they're dealing with, it would be nice to know if my report/case is even being looked at and/or investigated. The other question is: If Geek Backer LLC decides to send me to a collection agency, how do I handle that situation? Is telling the collection agency that there's an investigation of Geek Backer's scam open and I've been advised not to pay them sufficient? Or, is there more I need to do? I would appreciate any advice on this since I think I've done what I can with the complaint reports to FTC and the Nevada Atty General. Thanks.

You asked what happens to complaints that go into the law enforcement database, which is formally known as the Consumer Sentinel Network.

After people submit complaints to FTC.gov/complaint, the FTC and other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies review the complaints. One or more agencies may start an investigation based on complaints. If law enforcement investigation starts, you might not hear about it, or you might get a call from an investigator to ask about your experience.  You can call back to add information to your complaint, but you probably won't get information about what is happening with your complaint, because that is related to law enforcement.

If you used your credit card to pay for services, and were charged for something you didn't accept, or were charged for something that wasn't delivered as was agreed to, you could file a dispute with your credit card company. This FTC article about disputing credit card charges explains your rights under the fair credit billing act.

Yesterday I received a call on my landline purportedly from Northstar Location services, a debt collector. Call back number was 855-211-4583. Today another call supposedly from them -- 866-224-9821. This is occurring because I stopped payment on my check to the scammers. Interesting to note that Northstar's website has a different number. These internet scammers are the scum of the earth.

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It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) public records system, and user names also are part of the FTC’s computer user records system. We may routinely use these records as described in the FTC’s Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.