The Federal Trade Commission, along with its co-plaintiff the state of Ohio, is sending refund checks totaling more than $92,000 to victims of a tech support scam that tricked people into believing their computers were infected with viruses and malware, and then charged them hundreds of dollars for unnecessary repairs.
The refunds stem from a settlement the FTC reached with the operators of a tech support scheme, which operated under a variety of names including Repair All PC, Pro PC Repair, I Fix PC, WebTech World, Online Assist, Datadeck, and Techers247. The FTC alleged that the defendants contacted consumers through advertisements designed to look like pop-up security alerts from well-known technology companies and that included false warnings that consumers’ computers were compromised. People who called the toll-free number listed on the ads were urged to provide the telemarketers with remote access to their computers. After running sham diagnostic tests, telemarketers told people that their computers were infected with viruses, had been hacked, or had other problems, and then urged them to buy tech repair services costing hundreds of dollars.
The FTC is mailing 222 checks averaging $417 each. Recipients should deposit or cash the checks within 60 days, as indicated on the check. The FTC never requires people to pay money or provide account information to cash a refund check. If recipients have questions about the refunds, they should contact the FTC’s refund administrator, Rust Consulting, Inc., at 1-877-773-8183.
FTC law enforcement actions led to more than $2.3 billion in refunds for consumers in a one-year period between July 2017 and June 2018. To learn more about the FTC’s refund program, visit www.ftc.gov/refunds.
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