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Victims of tech support scheme again targeted by scammers

February 3, 2017

Consumers swindled by a tech support scam last year are being targeted by a new fraudulent scheme. Claire Schenk, the court-appointed receiver for three of the companies sued in October 2016 by the Federal Trade Commission, issued a supplemental notice to consumers on February 1 warning about the new scam. 

In the new scheme, consumers affected by the first scam are contacted by phone and told that they are due a refund from the company that fraudulently marketed tech support assistance. After allowing the fraudster access to a home computer through a remote viewer, the fraudster informs the consumer that he or she has accidentally been overpaid.  Next, the consumer is told that he or she must immediately return funds in amounts which may exceed $1,500. “The overpayment may appear to be legitimate upon first examination since the caller may have had the opportunity to move funds from one account to another,” the receiver wrote in the notice. 

For a St. Louis Post-Dispatch article about this latest scheme, a reporter spoke to one affected consumer from Washington state who regretted giving access to her computer to the fraudster “like a complete dodo.” The woman said she believes she’s been contacted at least once more by the same scammer. 

The original scam involved a group of St. Louis-based companies who allegedly used pop-up internet advertisements to trick consumers into contacting their India-based telemarketing operation. The FTC claims the defendants’ conduct has cost U.S. consumers more than $5 million since 2013. Claire Schenk was appointed receiver in the case in October 2016. 

Consumers who believe they were targeted in either scam should call the FTC at 1-877-FTC-HELP or submit a complaint via the FTC website at https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/