Some cons send pop-up computer warnings to pitch unnecessary – and sometimes harmful – tech support services. Some make phone calls. Others – like one scammer the FTC just sued – send spam emails that falsely claim the FTC hired them to help remove problem software. In this case, announced today, the court has ordered the defendant to stop claiming he’s affiliated with the FTC, to shut down his websites and phone numbers, and inform current customers who contact him that he is not affiliated with the FTC. If you got one of those messages, please tell the FTC.
The FTC doesn’t hire companies to contact people and give technical support. The FTC says this imposter created a fake FTC press release, including the real FTC seal and motto, to make people believe he was connected with the agency. He sent the fake press release and spam messages saying it was his job to call people and remove tracking software from their computers. And, according to the FTC, if he got access to someone’s computer, he told them it was infected and tried to sell them technical support services.
If you get a pop up, call, spam email or any other urgent message – from anyone – about a virus on your computer, stop. Don’t click on any links, don’t send any money, and don’t give anyone control of your computer. The person behind the message probably wants access to your computer to grab your data, install malware, or sell you unnecessary services. Please report those messages at ftc.gov/complaint.