The Federal Communications Commission recently announced a major crackdown on tech support scammers both domestically and abroad.
As part of an ongoing initiative known as Operation Tech Trap, the FTC along with state, federal and international law enforcement partners have brought 16 new actions against deceptive tech support operations. Actions can include everything from complains and indictments to guilty pleas and settlements, the FTC said.
The latest work brings the total number of actions against scammers to 29 in the past year.
The FTC said most of the targets followed the same basic pattern of misconduct. That is, they would cause consumers’ computers to display ads that resemble security alert pop-ups from Apple, Microsoft or other reputable companies saying their machine was infected with a virus or had been hacked.
Said pop-ups would urge users to call a toll-free number for help with the “issue.” Once they got on the line with an unscrupulous “customer service representative,” consumers would often be talked into shelling out hundreds of dollars for repairs, service plans, anti-virus protection or other software / services that weren’t necessary.
Tech support scams are often associated with senior citizens but as Microsoft found last fall, millennials are often more susceptible to tech support scams versus their elders.
Full details regarding the various settlements, indictments and arrests made as part of Operation Tech Trap can be found over on the FTC’s website.