The Federal Trade Commission has charged several tech support companies with fraudulently using pop up warnings as ads to scare thousands of people into purchasing unnecessary services. The defendants, who collectively have operated under the name Global Access Technical Support, were ordered by a federal court to stop all business operations and all their assets have been frozen.
The accused tech companies allegedly posted ads online that mimicked ads from legitimate sources like Microsoft or Apple. They would warn consumers of virus or malware on their computers, often accompanied by loud alarms. Ads were difficult to navigate around or close and required people to call a toll-free number.
Believing the warning to be legitimate, consumers would call the number and subsequently spend $200 to $400 to fix a problem that didn’t exist. Consumers would give the tech company rep remote access to their computers, taking hours to complete the “fix” and often ending up causing harm to the computers.
The defendants are Global Access Technical Support, LLC (also doing business as Global S Connect, Yubdata Tech and Technolive); Global sMind LLC (also doing business as Global S Connect); Source Pundit LLC (also doing business as OneSource Tech Support); Helios Digital Media LLC; VGlobal ITES Pvt. Ltd.; Rajiv Chhatwal; Rupinder Kaur; and Neeraj Dubey. They face charges of consumer fraud in violation of the FTC Act.
Complaints were originally filed through the Better Business Bureau of Eastern Missouri and Southern Illinois. The complaint against the tech companies was filed with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.