The feds lowered the boom on a “tech support” scammer ring based primarily in India and masquerading as tech support for Dell, McAffee, and Norton.
The Federal Trade Commission fined members of the ring $5.1 million. The scammers typically duped consumers by convincing them their machines were riddled with malware and then sending them a bill for “repairs.” The scam, when it was operational, worked brilliantly.
The scammers operated under the bogus monikers of Pecon Software, PCCare247 Inc., Finmaestros, Lakshmi Infosoul Services, and Zeal IT Solutions. The cases were handled by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (read: Manhattan). The swindlers targeted English-speakers and made millions from their treachery.
The case is unusual because most of the defendants were based in India but were dealt with in a American federal court. They are banned from ever marketing their computer-centric tech support services ever again but will probably rebrand and continue their odious phishing operations.
The feds filed the cases in 2012 as part of a larger offensive against tech scammers. Basically, the scammers would reach out to victims, saying they worked for Dell or Norton. They would instruct those on the hook by saying that if their machines were not cleaned up, they would lose all their data. Many victims paid hundreds of dollars each, which added up to serious money.
So far, PCCare247 and Marczak agreed to pay the feds back, who in turn will likely dole some of it to the victims themselves.