Over the Christmas holidays, Microsoft filed suit against a company that does business as OmniTech Support and TechSupport Pro, among other names, who trick people into signing up for “support” through fake web advertising and fake “technicians” who claim to work for Microsoft.
According to Microsoft, a technician asks to take over your computer to check it for viruses and other problems. Then the technician claims to scan your computer and demands $249 to fix the problems that he has found.
In November, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the State of Florida filed their own lawsuits against a company called “PC Cleaner” for using ads to scare people into thinking that their computers have viruses and then selling them worthless services.
In this case, the scammers advertise using internet ads that offer free scans for viruses and malware. The scan then finds a problem. The scammers offer a piece of software that can fix the problem for $29 to $49. The software then refers the computer user to a high pressure salesman who says that the computer has several serious problems that can only be fixed by a support package that costs several hundred dollars.
The thing to do is to not give over your computer or give your credit card numbers to someone who calls you out of the blue offering to fix your computer.
The fact that Microsoft and the FTC and at least one state are going after demonstrates that tech support scammers are a serious problem. While the lawsuits will attempt to immobilize these crooks, you can take away any opportunity to make you a victim by hanging up when they call, or not clicking on ads offering this kind of service when you see them.
Microsoft has declared war on cyber criminals including scammers and spammers who have been defrauding average people and spreading viruses and malware. Through its Microsoft Cybercrime Center it tries to find these crooks and hold them accountable. Here are a couple of stories about Microsoft’s efforts: