Global action takes down tech support scam
Canadian, Australian and US authorities claim victory over crims
Australian, US and Canadian authorities have jointly proclaimed a victory over scammers who call punters and offer unsolicited and unnecessary tech support.
The scam has been running for years and involves a call from someone claiming to be an employee of Microsoft or another tech titan. If you answer, the caller explains that malware has been detected on your PC and helpfully offers to remove it. One remote desktop session and hefty credit card charge later – some charge up to US$450 for the service - the scammer either does nothing whatsoever or installs free anti-virus software.
The USA's Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Australia's Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and Canada's Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) have each emitted near-simultaneous statements proclaiming the success of operations directed at sources of the scam. Canada has named and fined two firms it deems responsible, the USA has frozen the assets of six operators and initiated legal action against 16 companies and 17 individuals.
Australia is claiming credit for the bust, with ACMA saying it received complaints from Australians listed on the Do Not Call register that prohibits unsolicited telemarketing calls. As it investigated those complaints, ACMA passed on details to the FTC, setting in motion a process that concluded with a joint announcement by the three nations.
CRTC Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer Andrea Rosen summed up the attitude of all three nations in saying “The coordinated actions taken by our agencies today send a strong message that telemarketers cannot use national borders to evade detection or pursuit by enforcement agencies.”
Fine sentiments, but ones that don't mean it's Game Over for these scammers, as the FTC notes they've also targeted punters in the UK, Ireland and New Zealand.
One of the firms named by the FTC is 'Pecon Software UK Ltd', an entity Companieshouse.co.uk says has a registered office on London's Regent Street.
The FTC says some of the scammers "... hoped to avoid detection by consumers and law enforcers by using virtual offices that were actually just mail-forwarding facilities, and by using 80 different domain names and 130 different phone numbers." Pecon's website is registered in the .in domain. ®
as in "phone-wallah", "scam-wallah", "keyboard-wallah".
you could also ask them to wait a minute while you put down your beefburger with bacon (covers two possible religious sensitivites)
I think one day, I'll try asking them what their mother would think if they knew what their boy was doing...
Re: What exactly is the crime?
the issue is that they don't actually say the work is chargeable until after they are done installing free software (And malware sometimes too) then they try to hit you for charges in the £100's of pounds. I have had to deal with the aftereffects of these people myself. they are also misrepresenting themselves by saying they are calling on behalf of Microsoft\Virgin etc.
Best laugh I got was when one of these numpties called my boss to say he was calling on behalf of Virgin. He was a bit taken aback when he found out he was calling the manager of one fo Virgins tech support teams who proceeded to rip him a new waste orifice.
Re: Hopefully that'll put an end to it ...
Yeah, it's great fun leading these chancers on.
Last time this happened to me, I wasn't feeling particularly imaginative and simply answered "yes" to every question that was put to me by some guy with a strong Indian accent. It took him several minutes to figure out what was going on and eventually vented his frustration by announcing that I was a "dirty dog".
Woof woof! That one cut me to the quick.