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November 14, 2012

FTC exposes tech support telephone call scams

(Continued)

NORMAN —

The FTC charged that the operations - mostly based in India - target English-speaking consumers in the United States, Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, and the U.K. Most of the scammers used telemarketing boiler rooms to call consumers. Others lured consumers by placing ads with Google which appeared when consumers searched for their computer company’s tech support telephone number.

According to the FTC, after getting the consumers on the phone, the telemarketers allegedly claimed they were affiliated with legitimate companies, including Dell, Microsoft, McAfee, and Norton, and told consumers they had detected malware that posed an imminent threat to their computers.

FTC papers filed with the court alleged that the scammers hoped to avoid detection by consumers and law enforcers by using virtual offices that were actually just mail-forwarding facilities, and by using 80 different domain names and 130 different phone numbers.

Some savvy computer users have actually started recording the scammers’ fake tech support phone calls and posting them to YouTube. Some of the videos are quite amusing; search YouTube for “tech support scam” and you see what I mean.

One of my favorites is at www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6-IzN46-L0. Enjoy, and be careful!

Dave Moore has been performing computer consulting, repairs, security and networking in Oklahoma since 1984. He also teaches computer safety workshops for public and private organizations. He can be reached at 405-919-9901 or www.davemoorecomputers.com.

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