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FTC halts computer technical support scams based out of Florida


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#1 Grinler

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 05:42 PM

On November 10th, 2014 the FTC and local authorities raided the facilities of OMG Tech Help and Vast Tech Support in Delray Beach, Florida stating that the businesses were running a scam that scares and tricks consumers into purchasing unnecessary software and technical support services. Tech support scams have been rampant over the past few years, which makes it good news to hear that the FTC is taking an active role in trying to stop this type of activity. These scams typically involve a remote tech support company taking control over your computer and displaying misleading information to scare you into purchasing tech support contracts or commercial software that you do not need.

The web site for OMG Tech Help has been changed to display a notice from the court appointed lawyers that contains information regarding the FTC's action against OMG Tech Help, Boost Software, and Vast Tech Support. This notice also contains a a link to the 14-81397 - Temporary Restraining Order - FTC v. Boost Software.pdf document, which details the activities that were being conducted by OMG Tech Help and Vast Tech Support to unwary victims.

 

omg-tech-help-notice.jpg



According to the FTC, the scheme starts through a free downloadable program called PC HealthBoost. This software is developed and maintained by the company Boost Software who markets it on "websites and through popup ads". The FTC further states:
 

Upon downloading a free version of the product, the product automatically initiates a bogus computer system scan that invariably detects hundreds or thousands of purported "errors "in need of repair. PC HealthBoost's bogus free scan falsely identifies innocuous and helpful files as "errors". The Boost Defendants then offer consumers the opportunity to "fix" these errors by downloading the paid version of the software for $29.97. After duping consumers into purchasing the paid version of PC HealthBoost, the software instructs consumers to call a toll free phone number to activate the product.



pc-healthboost.jpg



This is where the Vast Defendants come into action. Their telemarketers would be answering the phone number provided by PC HealthBoost and "tell more lies and extract additional money from unsuspecting consumers, many of whom are senior citizens.". According to the FTC document, this is done by remote controlling the consumers' computers and running programs that help them convince the consumer that their computers are infected and to scare them into purchasing repairs and support contracts that they do not need.

According to the Boost Software TRO, another Remote Tech Support Company called Inbound Call Experts is subject to a similar FTC enforcement. The TRO states:
 

"Inbound Call Experts, another computer repair scheme operating out of Boca Raton subject to an FTC and State of Florida enforcement action filed simultaneously with this case."


At this time, no further information can be found regarding the FTC enforcement against Inbound Call Experts.


Update 11/20/14:

The FTC has released a press release on the targeting and take down of New York-based Pairsys, Florida-based Inbound Call Experts (ICE) and Florida-based Vast Tech Support.
 

The FTC sued several of these phony tech support companies – New York-based Pairsys, Florida-based Inbound Call Experts (ICE) and Florida-based Vast Tech Support – for misrepresenting that they found security or performance issues on consumers’ computers. At the FTC’s request, three federal judges halted these alleged scams pending trial.


Inbound Call Experts site now redirects to a court-appointed receiver site: http://icereceiver.com/

Edited by Grinler, 20 November 2014 - 01:56 PM.
Updated


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#2 Stolen

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 06:38 PM

Grinler, Thank you for the great story! 

 

This is GREAT news in my opinion. It's very challenging to know and see all the good work we do here (all volunteers) when there are scams out there taking advantage of people and making money using scare tactics. 

 

Thanks also to quietman7, I just now read through another topic here on BC discussing a similar scam-my type business that we constantly see advertised on TV. FTC should go get them next IMO. 


#3 GreyHairedGeek

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 06:44 PM

Could CyberDefender be next?

 

Of course, it will do nothing to stop the thousands more operating offshore with American-looking toll-free numbers.



#4 406

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 09:52 PM

Well, I guess I'm a victim here. REIMAGE is the name I paid money to. $79.95 to a company in Florida  for the same scam. Only 4 3 computers. gotta call the bank  tomorrow. great

 

Alllan



#5 406

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 09:56 PM

Gee I wonder if this has anything to do with the notice I got from Fidelity about my account now being locked. expletives etc......

 

Allan



#6 Grinler

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 09:17 AM

Gee I wonder if this has anything to do with the notice I got from Fidelity about my account now being locked. expletives etc......


Do you or did you work for a company that provided remote tech support services?

#7 406

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 09:43 AM

No I got a hard enough time getting my e  mail

Allan



#8 kingping

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 12:30 PM

Let me be clear …. Scamming is never ok!
Letting people think that their computer has virus is not ok
Using the ol´ “EventViewer” scam … is not ok.

When this is said, then some of these call centers has helped many people fix their computer and many “computer repair shops” lure customers to do exactly the same or worse if you turn in your computer to be “fixed”

I have run Software companies for many, many years selling all over the world and I must say that the most “Ignorant” users of them all …. Are Americans.
They will buy ANYTHING if only they can TALK to somebody.
European users are the total opposite, they don’t want to talk and likes to solve it themselves or they shoot an email and wait for reply.
Americans wants it fixed here and now, yell a little and they give up their credit card number.

When I sent out Activation emails for my programs, 90% of “how to activate” questions came from Americans who wanted to know who to call even though there were full instructions with screenshots available.
Dont matter …. I want to call and you do it for me … was the standard answer.

I tried a call center once and boy, did they relieve me of a lot of support just from how to type in a Product Key or installing a “damn” product with questions …. If the screen says “next” … do press the “next” button or is there anywhere I should Type it ?

So to me, I’m not really surprised that many costumers has been “lured” in to buying so much more.

Fun Fact …. Did you know that one of the founders of OMG Tech Help / Vast  (Loewenstern) is Jordan Belfort´s oldest and best friend ?
Jordan Belfort = The Wolf of Wall Street

so what we have here is a bunch of old Stock Trade scammers finding a new Industry where they can talk people in to buying anything.

I hope it will get solved and if not, Indian support companies will be very happy because they are handed the business right back.
 



#9 NullPointerException

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 12:36 PM

Phone scamming is getting old now. I am surprised that people still fall for this, and after all, many AV blogs write about it. 



#10 kingping

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 01:01 PM

I agree Null, but what are they going to do ?
Take a 3 year old computer back to Best Buy or Costco and have a just as "illiterate” look at it, send it in and get it back 3 weeks later with a wiped Hard driver ?

People´s computer are like their linked to the outside world. They dont want to let it out of their sight so they fall for some of these scammers.



#11 406

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 07:51 PM

Okay I get your point. I was an idiot. Not exactly what I come here for but you've made your point "LOUD AND CLEAR". Now if you can climb down off your high horse and maybe share a little of your precious knowledge I would appreciate it. Probably not from either of you, but hopefully there is someone on here who can hold back their snickering long enough for someone who has spent a lifetime at physical labor and seems to have made a mistake in a field he knows little about and help me



#12 Netghost56

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 09:40 AM

A friend and I have been considering starting a PC repair /tech support service. I want to do actual house calls and he wants to do remote tech support.

 

 

 

Guess this is a bad idea.



#13 Bluediamond

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 01:47 PM

I actually worked for Inbound Call Experts and now thats its public im glad that they finally shut them down i was part of the Level ll Tech team. It was one hell of a scam!



#14 Grinler

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 01:53 PM

And the FTC has released a press release. Also inbound call experts has now been taken over and their site redirects to: http://icereceiver.com/

#15 406

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 01:54 PM

Charles do you know anything about REIMAGE?






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