MANHATTAN (CN) - The Federal Trade Commission has cracked down on the operators of alleged telemarketing scams that charge consumers to fix nonexistent computer problems.
The agency has filed federal complaints in Manhattan against multinational companies, many in India, that it claims offer bogus tech support.
Defendants include companies such as Virtual PC Solutions, Lakshmi Infosoul Services, PCCare247, Connexions Infotech and Zeal IT Solutions.
The scammers would often cold-call people in English-speaking countries and pretend to be affiliated with Microsoft, McAfee, Symantec, Dell and another reputable company, according to the lawsuits.
They then tricked consumers into giving them remote access to their computers, and told them that their computers "are infected with viruses or malware, or that hackers stole or are in the process of stealing the consumers' personal information," the FTC claims.
"By exploiting consumers' legitimate concerns about internet threats like spyware and viruses, the defendants scare consumers into thinking believing that their computers are in imminent danger of crashing in order to sell consumers otherwise free software protection products and unnecessary computer security or technical support services," according to the lawsuit against Techpro Solutions and others.
Users paid anywhere from about $80 to $450 for the defendants' security "solutions," according to the FTC.
The agency seeks an injunction and an order forcing the defendants to pay restitution or otherwise refund consumers' money.
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