Advanced Tech Support Closed for Business
Well you have heard us blog about these scammers before and once again we see another major group shut down by the FTC (Federal Trade C omission). At Boxaid, we are constantly looking at our competitors and we see hundreds of these websites as we look around at the online tech support industry. Unfortunately, there is not much we can do about it. We advise our customers to be vigilant and teach them how to spot a tech support scam a mile away. But we certainly can’t talk to everyone. We even have a company that is copying the Boxaid brand in India called Boxaid Solutions. We will not link to them in our blog but they have nothing to do with the real Boxaid which is founded in the United States. Unfortunately we have already gotten calls from their customers asking how they can get their money back. We inform them of the scam and explain that Boxaid Solutions is in India and we have nothing to do with them.
It’s a sad state of affairs for our industry because these tech support scams hurt real companies like ours that work hard to earn every positive review we receive from our customers. Our new customers are often hesitant to try our tech support service because they are worried if we are one of those companies that will try to upsell you on software you don’t need. The FTC has obtained a court order to shut down several of these tech support companies which have bilked consumers out of 120 million dollars so far.
“These operations prey on consumers’ lack of technical knowledge with deceptive pitches and high-pressure tactics to sell useless software and services to the tune of millions of dollars,” Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection said in a statement. “There’s no excuse for it, and we are pleased the court has taken steps to temporarily shut down these scams while our lawsuit proceeds.”
How they Ran their Business
Just like many of the other tech support scams, the way Advanced Tech Support and Inbound Call Experts gathered their money was by getting to the top of Google search results for keywords like “speed up my PC” or “make my computer fast“. They then had several websites set up that offer free software called Reg Cleaner Pro, or PC Optimizer or OMG Tech Help where users downloaded a free copy of the software and once they installed the software it finds multiple PC problems and promises to fix them when you activate their software by calling their toll free number. Upon calling the toll free number you speak to a technician who will connect to your computer and show you that your problem was even worse than what was originally suspected. He/she then tells you it will cost you hundreds of dollars to fix the problem and they can do it all remotely. If all goes according to plan, they get your credit card information and charge you hundreds of dollars and do a few simple things that may or may not speed up your computer.
At the end of the day the FTC has shut down a handful of these companies but there are still hundreds more that are all doing the same thing. The ones located in the United States are easier to prosecute while the others located in India and China are more difficult. All we can say is be vigilant and don’t hand over your payment information to anyone who promises miracles. Check multiple reputable review sites like the BBB and Ripoff Report among others. Google is your friend.
FTC Case Details
- In the first case, the defendants selling software include PC Cleaner Inc.; Netcom3 Global Inc.; Netcom3 Inc., also doing business as Netcom3 Software Inc.; and Cashier Myricks, Jr. The telemarketing defendants include Inbound Call Experts LLC; Advanced Tech Supportco. LLC; PC Vitalware LLC; Super PC Support LLC; Robert D. Deignan, Paul M. Herdsman, and Justin M. Wright.
- In the second case, the defendants selling software include Boost Software Inc. and Amit Mehta, and the telemarketing defendants include Vast Tech Support LLC, also doing business as OMG Tech Help, OMG Total Protection, OMG Back Up, downloadsoftware.com, and softwaresupport.com; OMG Tech Help LLC; Success Capital LLC; Jon Paul Holdings LLC; Elliot Loewenstern; Jon-Paul Vasta; and Mark Donahue.
Update on March 2018
Wow, after 3 long years the FTC has finally reached a settlement and will be sending checks back to customers who were scammed by Advanced Tech Support. Over 10 million dollars in refunds. The average refund amount will be $277 which is pretty impressive. You can learn more at the FTC press release on their website.