Washington Attorney General Sues Tech Support Company For Scamming Customers

When your work computer goes wonky, you call IT. That’s easy enough. When it’s your home computer, though, the choices are a lot murkier. There are thousands of sources for tech support out there, from one-person operations to giant call centers. But if you don’t have enough technical know-how, it can be hard to tell which ones are actually helping, and which ones are just out to scam a quick buck.

If you’re one of the three million customers who called iYogi for any help, unfortunately, they may have been the latter, the Associated Press reports. The company, based in India but with a presence in the U.S., has become the target of an investigation and lawsuit by the Washington state attorney general.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office filed the suit this week. In it, Ferguson contends that iYogi representatives defrauded consumers in multiple ways. The company charged consumers between $80 and $199 to upgrade their systems from Windows 7 to Windows 10, for example, despite the fact that Microsoft explicitly offers all home Windows users that upgrade for free.

Ferguson also told reporters that iYogi representatives, after gaining remote access to a computer (a legitimate support need) would then generate fake, flashing warnings about viruses and tell customers they would need to pay between $80 or $380 to have the “virus” repaired.

“After gaining remote access to the consumer’s computer, iYogi identifies complex-looking files and claims these infected files harm the computer,” Ferguson said. “iYogi misleads the consumer into believing he or she must download iYogi’s diagnostic software to fully identify these alleged computer problems.”

iYogi also falsely indicates that it is affiliated with major tech companies including HP, Microsoft, and apple, the complaint says. The opposite appears to be true: a Microsoft executive joined the press conference to say that iYogi is one of the businesses that Microsoft receives the most complaints about.

The company was supposed to open up a U.S. call center in Maine last summer, but after a three-month trial the American partner they were working with called off the deal, and has since filed suit against iYogi for nonpayment.

Washington state sues firm, alleges tech support scam [AP]

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