I must have gotten about 5 of these calls from operators with heavy Indian accents telling me they are calling about “my computer”.
Oh no! You mean the many people who had fun with this frauds now have to find someone else to yank?
At the request of the Federal Trade Commission, a federal court has shut down a company that scammed computer users by tricking them into paying hundreds of dollars for technical support services they did not need, as well as software that was otherwise available for free.
According to the FTC’s complaint and other court documents filed by the agency, Pairsys, Inc., cold-called consumers masquerading as representatives of Microsoft or Facebook, and also purchased deceptive ads online that led consumers to believe they were calling the technical support line for legitimate companies.
Whether consumers were cold-called by the company or drawn in by deceptive ads, the FTC’s complaint notes that what followed was a deceptive and high-pressure sales pitch conducted by scammers in an overseas call center. The scammers would convince a consumer to allow them to have remote control over the individual’s computer, in order to analyze the supposed issues.
Once they had access to a consumer’s computer, the FTC alleges, the scammers would lead the consumer to believe that benign portions of the computer’s operating system were in fact signs of viruses and malware infecting the consumer’s computer. In many cases, they implied that the computer was severely compromised and had to be “repaired” immediately.
At that point, consumers were pressured into paying for bogus warranty programs and software that was freely available, usually at a cost of $149 to $249, though in some cases, the defendants charged as much as $600 for the supposed products. The FTC’s filings in the case allege that the company made nearly $2.5 million since early 2012.
As this piece made clear, Pairsys targeted the elderly and those who lacked computer knowledge to sell them fake ‘security’ programs. It was easy for tech savvy people to know Microsoft would never call you at home.
While it’s great that the FTC took action, and I hope this means the end of the scam, I still get frickin’ ANNOYING ROBOCALLS from “Rachel, from Cardholder Services” who was also given the boot a while back. Apparently, she didn’t get the message.