The Federal Trade Commission said it will send refund checks to people who were victims of a tech support scam.
The decision is part of a settlement with the FTC and the alleged scammers, who were charged with tricking people into believing their computers were infected with malware and viruses, and then aggressively asking for hundreds of dollars for repairs.
The alleged scammers, Madhu Sethi and Ila Sethi, did business as Troth Solutions and used phone calls and banner ads online to warn customers about fake viruses.
Once customers called the toll-free number, they were connected to a call center and telemarketers lied and said they were from Apple or Google. The fake employees would then ask for access to the person’s computer.
The telemarketers would run tests and diagnostics under the guise of being certified technicians, and persuade the customers, aggressively, to fork over hundreds of dollars for fixes. Sometimes, the alleged bad guys would install malware.
FTC, as part of the settlement, will mail checks that average around $380, and totalling $26,000, to about 70 people. The checks have to be cashed within 60 days.
Troth Solutions is now banned from calling or using online ads to contact customers, and can no longer advertise, market or promote any sort of tech product or service. It is also not allowed to collect, or even try to collect money from anyone for anything it sells.
Another company, Universal Network Solutions, LLC, faced similar penalties even though it only used online ads to reach potential victims. It is no longer allowed to offer tech support and received a $547,087 judgment.
The FTC wants to remind people receiving the refund checks that it will never ask people to pay more money or give account information to cash a refund check. If refund recipients are unsure about the refund, or have any questions, they’re asked to call FTC’s refund administrator, Rust Consulting, Inc.