November 16 2015

FTC Warns of "Tech Support" Scams and Files Case Against Big Offender


The FTC is cracking down on an internet company that posed as tech support to fleece customers out of thousands of dollars. 


“The next time you get a message offering to fix a supposed problem with your computer, you might keep this in mind: “'If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,’” the agency said in a statement. “Because there’s a good chance that call is a tech support scam.”


On Friday, the FTC announced a case against Click4Support, charging the company with fleecing people out of up to thousands of dollars per consumer. 


Here’s how it worked, according to the FTC: the company used search engine results and pop-up ads, which seemed to come from well-known tech companies, but did not. Those ads drove people to telemarketing centers. If you called, the Click4Support reps would get remote access to your computer to – ahem – identify and resolve issues. Then the reps would make you believe your computer had a virus, spyware, malware, or was otherwise compromised.  But the FTC says those claims were false.  


Then, according to the FTC, the company sold their tech support “service” to consumers. That meant anything from a one-time “fix” to a long-term services plan, and cost from $69 to thousands of dollars. The FTC estimates these fees added up to more than $17.9 million for Click4Support. And what did consumers get? Big charges for unnecessary so-called repairs – which, in fact, sometimes damaged computers, according to the FTC.


If you see a pop-up, an ad, or get a call for tech support services, here are some ways to keep your money to yourself:

  • • Don’t give access to your computer to anyone who contacts you.

  • • Never give your credit card or financial information – or your passwords – to anyone who calls asking for them.

  • • Hang up on anyone who pressures you to pay for a computer security product or service. If you have concerns about your computer’s security, call a reputable computer security company using a number you know is really theirs.  If you need to check a company out, search its name online with words like “review,” “complaint,” or “scam.”


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