By Robert J. Hansen
Incidents of tech support scams that combine high-pressure scare tactics frightening customers into wasting hundreds of dollars on “tech” repairs and antivirus software continue despite actions by the Federal Trade Commission and the State of Florida.
“Once in control of consumers’ computers, defendants run a series of purported diagnostic tests, which, in reality, are nothing more than a high-pressured sales pitch designed to scare consumers into believing that their computers are corrupted, hacked, otherwise compromised, or generally performing badly,” according to complaints.
The FTC temporarily shut down the international tech support operation in June 2016 and defendants are being charged with violations of the FTC Act, the Telemarketing Sales Rule, and the Florida Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
The defendants used several names, including BigDog Solutions LLC and PC Help Desk US LLC among many others.
Now, SuperTek, with 19 years in business and without a complaint filed according to the Better Business Bureau, is one of the new names being used by these tech scams.
However, in a Facebook post on Dec. 5 2016, SuperTek warned customers of these tech scams describing the same tactics described by victims and the FDC.
So scammers are ruining a legitimate company’s name or the imposters have gone so far as to create a Facebook page that warns about … themselves?
Either way scammers continue to use the tactics implemented by defendants in the FTC case, causing consumers’ computers to display advertisements designed to resemble security alerts from Microsoft or Apple which warn of viruses and malware. The alerts behave like viruses which direct victims to a customer service rep who then offers the “only” solution which must be fixed immediately by one of their “certified” technician at costs ranging from $99 up to $300.
This has also been the experience for the Public Hawk, who in February, allowed itself to fall victim to the scam. So far, $99 has been paid for “tech” repairs on Feb. 14 and two payments of $29 in membership fees have been paid the subsequent months.
The laptop that received the “repairs” experienced more problems. Web browsers were damaged, rapidly opening new tab after new tab until the browser would crash. Fixing that required service from and actual Microsoft tech and $200.
The same thick accented woman is the customer service representative when speaking to “SuperTek.” She has always given a discernible name and asking for the spelling has not been successful either.
Attempting to cancel the membership in March, she said that couldn’t be done until April. It’s now April and she said a 30-day notice of cancellation must be signed and submitted which takes effect after the next scheduled $29 payment.
Costing a total of roughly $190 to”SuperTek and $200 counting actual repairs for a total of nearly $400.
In that the FDA has been combating tech scams since 2010, these types of scams will continue to plague customers for some time. So take caution and always be on the look-out for imposters.
Contact Robert J. Hansen at firstname.lastname@example.org or (916) 633-8008