Judge

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has settled with a collective of tech support scammers, who were forced to forfeit assets valued at nearly $6 million.

Ever since last year, the FTC has been on a crusade against tech support sites, who are often registered as legal businesses but are peddling unneeded services for non-existent technical issues, just on the edge of legality.

One of these first cases where the FTC got involved was against a conglomerate of companies and individuals, known collectively as Global Access Technical Support.

According to an FTC complaint, these individuals had been running tech support sites that locked people's browsers, claimed to be Apple and Microsoft representatives, and tricked users into believing their computer were having technical issues.

The group charged $200 for "one-time" fixes or $400/year as a recurring payment for a one-year technical support plan.

Tech support scammers settle for huge sums

The FTC filed a complaint last October 2016, but the defendants decided to settle. According to two different settlement agreements the defendants signed this week, they're now banned from marketing or promoting any technical support products or services and from misrepresenting any product or service.

Furthermore, one group of defendants agreed to turn over assets of $5,150,506, while another group agreed to turn over assets of $800,375. The FTC says it will use these funds to provide restitution to victims.

With every passing month, the FTC is intensifying its efforts against tech support scammers. In May, the agency announced Operation Tech Trap, an international effort that resulted in the filing of four other complaints.

  • The FTC and the State of Ohio jointly filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Ohio against Repair All PC LLC, Pro PC Repair LLC, I Fix PC LLC, WebTech World LLC, Online Assist LLC, Datadeck LLC, and I Fix PC (doing business as Techers247), as well as individual defendants Jessica Marie Serrano, Dishant Khanna, Mohit Malik, Romil Bhatia, Lalit Chadha, and Roopkala Chadha. The court entered a TRO on April 24, 2017.
  • The FTC and the State of Alabama jointly filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Alabama against Trothsolutions Inc., Trothsolutions LLC, Quickkonto LLC, Crazy Bee Man of Palm Beach Inc., Edoorways International Corp., Escue Energy, Inc., and Airoways LLC, as well as individual defendants Madhu Sethi and Ila Sethi. The court entered a TRO on May 1, 2017, and a preliminary injunction on May 10, 2017.
  • The FTC and the State of Florida jointly filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court in the Middle District of Florida against Vylah Tec LLC, Express Tech Help LLC, and Tech Crew Support LLC, as well as individual defendants Angelo J. Cupo, Dennis Cupo and Robert Cupo. The court entered a TRO on May 2, 2017.
  • The FTC also filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court in the District of Colorado against Universal Network Solutions LLC and its founder Rajinder Singh, and will be seeking a preliminary injunction to halt the defendants’ alleged tech support scam.

FTC is coming down HARD on tech support scammers

Additionally, the FTC also announced two settlements against two tech support operations. The first defendant agreed to pay a total of more than $554,000 and to forfeit $1.3 million, while the second agreed to turn over $700,000 in assets to the FTC.

Last but not least, following an FTC complaint where the accused company failed to show up and defend itself, the judge's hammer landed pretty hard on a default judgment that ruled that the tech support scammer iSource USA LLC would have to forfeit a whopping $27 million.

Overall, in the last few months, the FTC has been kicking a** and taking names.