FTC: Tech Support Representatives Pretended To Be From Microsoft, Facebook, Scammed $2.5M From Consumers

It makes sense that consumers with a lack of computer knowledge would seek services and assistance from well-known tech companies like Microsoft and Facebook. So it should come as little surprise that a shady company would use this information to dupe consumers out of millions by pretending to be from the popular tech firms selling support services and software.

The Federal Trade Commission announced today that at the agency’s request a federal court shut down a New York-based tech support scam business that allegedly tricked older consumers into paying nearly $2.5 million for technical support services they didn’t need and for software that was actually available for free.

According to the FTC complaint, Pairsys, Inc. often cold-called consumers selling services and support while pretending to be representatives for Microsoft or Facebook.

Additionally, the company purchased deceptive ads online that led consumers to believe they were calling the technical support line for legitimate companies.

Once consumers were on the line, they were presented with a high-pressure sales pitch that typically involved scammers asking for remote access to the individual’s computer in order to assess a supposed issue.

Once the representative had access to the consumer’s computer they would allegedly lead the consumer to believe that the computer’s operating system had been affected by viruses or malware. In many instances, it was implied that the computer was severely compromised and had to be “repaired” immediately.

Consumers were then allegedly pressured into paying $149 to $600 for bogus warranty programs and software that was freely available elsewhere.

According to the preliminary injunction approved by the court, Pairsys and its operators are prohibited from making misrepresentations to consumers about the company and whether or not viruses are present on their computers.

The FTC will continue to seek the permanent closure of the company and refunds for consumers.

At FTC’s Request, Court Shuts Down New York-Based Tech Support Scam Business [FTC]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.