FTC Brings Down The Hammer Down On Tech Support And ‘PC Cleaner’ Scammers

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is bringing the legal hammer down on tech support scammers who trick people into thinking there's something wrong with their computer that they're able to fix, or otherwise offering to speed up your PC. What they're really doing is charging for services that aren't necessary, though sometimes their motives are even more nefarious.

Depending on where your web travels take you, the FTC says the newest trick involves scammers luring victims to their websites with pop-ads or web searches. Once there, a bogus program appears to detect several errors with your PC. The people running the scam will ask the victim to call on the phone or grant remote access to their PC so that they can fix the problem(s) right away.

"It’s all part of their plan to sell you bogus 'security' or 'technical support' products or services. Really, your computer is fine. They want to charge you – possibly hundreds of dollars – for software and services that you don’t need and that doesn’t help," the FTC says.

PC Health Boost

They could also plant keyloggers and other malware by granting them remote access, which could lead to all kinds of problems, like a hacked bank account and/or identity theft.

The FTC has issued lawsuits against several culprits, including New York-based Pairsys, Florida-based Inbound Call Experts (ICE), and Vast Tech Support, another outfit based in the sunshine state. However, there are more out there, and with that in mind, the FTC offers up a handful of recommendations to avoid them.

They're pretty generic in nature, at least for tech savvy individuals -- don't hand over control of your PC to someone who says they need to activate software, don't give control of your computer to someone who calls out of the blue claiming to be from tech support, never hand over your credit card number or other financial information to someone who claims to be from tech support, and other similar suggestions.

If you do fall prey to such an attack, or know someone that has, the FTC would like to know about it.