Microsoft is reportedly suing scammers who disguise as tech support. Nearly 1/3 of citizens in the United States were contacted by fake tech support scammers.
This particular problem is nothing new. For many years, people have been contacted by companies that claim to be official tech support for Microsoft. Such scammers often convince the victim there is a virus on their computer and will offer to fix it for a fee. This has blown up to a huge problem. Since May 2014, Microsoft received over 65,000 customer complaints involving tech support scams with costs consumers approximately $1.5 billion in financial losses each year.
Microsoft’s latest civil lawsuit
This is why Microsoft is filing a civil lawsuit within the United States District Court for the Central District of California. The company is fighting against Omnitech Support for unfair business practices as well as deceptive marketing. Microsoft is also suing similar companies for the same practices.
Consumer Focus Services uses the name Omnitech to a company with offshoring, call-center outsourcing, and tech support outsourcing. The companies were charged with misusing Microsoft’s name and registered trademarks. As a way of learning how the scammers operate, Microsoft conducted multiple test calls and online chat sessions with CFS companies. With every case Microsoft used a computer it’s experts confirmed did not have malware or viruses.
A look at a scammer’s attempts
One investigator visited a CFS website called fixnow.us where they were connected to a technician named Terry who then asked to connect remotely to the user’s computer. Once Terry was allowed to take full control of the investigator’s computer, he claimed the machine’s file system was corupted with harmful viruses and polymorphic infections. He also claimed there was a total of 75 issues of concern. Microsoft said the supposed infections actually involved benign files containing zero infections.
Terry claimed the situation was dire as it could lead to a potential loss of data and subsequently asked for $250 to fix the problem. He also asked for an additional $610 to fine-tune the computer which he deemed necessary because the infection damaged parts of the system.
Microsoft reminds users that scammers are most active during the holiday season and many of the victims are older.