Another new scam: The ‘You have a virus’ pop-up box
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – May 16, 2017 – Scammers have a novel way to gain access to computer data in a three-step process. First, they convince a computer user that they have a virus. Then they convince the user that they can fix it. Once the user gives the scammer access to their computer to get rid of the virus, they may steal data. In some cases, they pocket the money that people pay to fix a problem that never existed.
While the scam many times starts with a pop-up box that says “We’ve detected a virus on your computer” when a user is surfing the web, it can take other forms. The scammers’ goal is to gain trust.
This week, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced the filing of three complaints, including one filed jointly with the Federal Trade Commission, against companies allegedly involved in the operation of tech support scams.
“Tech support scams prey on people’s fear of losing important work, family photos or sensitive identification information,” says Bondi. “Using that fear, scammers trick thousands of consumers into paying millions of dollars to fix problems that never existed.”
The recent scams targeted by the attorney general all involve pop-up ads disguised as computer virus alerts that instruct consumers to call a number for help. When a user calls, a sales agent at a call center allegedly confirms the computer is infected and needs services. These scammers exploit consumers’ fears about computer viruses, malware, hackers and other security threats, to ultimately convince them to purchase unnecessary and costly technical support services or software products.
Attorney General Bondi’s Office alleges that the following companies are in violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act:
- GoReadyCalls Marketing, LLC, A.E.A. Worldwide, LLC, Capital Investments, LLC, Cutting Edge Outlook, LLC, Kradanomic Solutions, LLC, Secure It Digital Solutions, LLC, Software Pros, LLC, Teamkeen, LLC, Us Software Experts, LLC, Us Software Pros, LLC, Wizard Tech Solutions, LLC, Adam Lennox, Evan Keen
- Learn More Media, Inc. and Elesha Aflalo
- Vylah Tec LLC d/b/a Vtec Support, Express Tech Help LLC, Tech Crew Support LLC, Angelo Cupo, Dennis Cupo and Robert Cupo
Each complaint orders the freezing of assets, seeks immediate access to the business premises and the appointment of a receiver. Two of the complaints also seek preliminary and permanent injunctions, full consumer restitution, disgorgement of ill-gotten monies and attorneys’ fees and costs.
Bondi also joined representatives from the Federal Trade Commission in Tampa to announce a major national and international crackdown on tech support scams.
Anyone who suspects unfair or deceptive business practices can file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office online at MyFloridaLegal.com or (866) 9-NO-SCAM. The federal government also maintains a list of common scams and accepts complaints at USA.gov.
© 2017 Florida Realtors