The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that the U.S. District Court in Southern New York had ordered fraudsters to pay $5.1 million. The court:
"... issued default judgments against fourteen corporate defendants and fourteen individual defendants that allegedly operated the tech support scams. The operations were mostly based in India and targeted English-speaking consumers in the United States and several other countries... The judgments also ban them from continuing their deceptive tactics and from disclosing, selling or failing to dispose of information they obtained from victims."
The defendants are permanently banned from marketing technical support services. The firms the FTC had filed lawsuits against:
- FTC v. Pecon Software Ltd. et al;
- FTC v. Marczak et al.;
- FTC v. PCCare247 Inc. et al.;
- FTC v. Finmaestros, LLC et al.;
- FTC v. Lakshmi Infosoul Serivces Pvt. Ltd. et al.; and
- FTC v. Zeal IT Solutions Pvt. Ltd. et al.
Two defendants in the PCCare247 case settled with the FTC in November 2013. Two defendants in the Marczak case settled with the FTC in April 2013. The latest court action applied to all remaining defendants.
The FTC had charged the defendants with violating the FTC Act, which prohibits deceptive marketing tactics. The agency had also charged the defendants with violating the Telemarketing Sales Rule, as they had allegedly called phone numbers illegally on the Do Not Call Registry.
The FTC's complaints described the fraudsters' deceptive marketing tactics:
"... the defendants claimed they were affiliated with legitimate companies, including Dell, Microsoft, McAfee, and Norton, and told consumers they had detected malware that posed an imminent threat to their computers. The defendants then charged these consumers hundreds of dollars to remotely access and “fix” the computers."
This sounds very similar to a tech support phone call I received in February, 2012.
I congratulate the FTC and the Court on this enforcement.