WASHINGTON - The Federal Trade Commission cracked down on a tech support ripoff that made consumers believe their computer was loaded with malware, spyware and viruses. The telemarketers offered a solution for $49 to $450. When the consumers downloaded the program to fix their computer, the alleged scammers were given remote access to the computer.
The government alleged the telemarketers convinced consumers of the malware by telling them they were associated with legitimate computer companies like Dell, Microsoft, McAfee and Norton.
The FTC alleged the involved parties used virtual offices that were really mail-forwarding facilities to avoid detection. More than 80 different domain names and 130 phone numbers were used.
"The FTC has been aggressive – and successful – in its pursuit of tech support scams," said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. "And the tech support scam artists we are talking about today have taken scareware to a whole other level of virtual mayhem."
Fourteen corporate defendants and 17 individuals were targeted in this international effort including Pecon Software Ltd., Finmaestros LLC, Zeal IT Solutions Pvt. Ltd., Virtual PC Solutions, Lakshmi Infosoul Services Pvt. Ltd., and PCCare247, Inc.
It was an international crackdown that targeted consumers in the United States, Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, the U.K.