Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi Shuts Down Tech Support Scams
By Space Coast Daily // February 22, 2017
scam exploited fears about computer hackers
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – Attorney General Pam Bondi filed a complaint against Fast Fix 123, LLC, Paul Cozzolino, Tyler Foss and Dennis Rinker for operating a tech support scam.
According to the complaint, the scam exploited consumers’ fears about computer hackers, malware, viruses and other security threats, in order to convince consumers to purchase costly technical support services and software products.
“This scam was designed to trick consumers, some of them seniors, into believing their computers were severely compromised and scare them into buying unnecessary protection software,” said Attorney General Bondi. “With today’s action, we are seeking to shut down this tech support scam and acquire relief for the victims.”
The scam involved the use of deceptive internet pop-up windows disguised as legitimate operating system or web browser security warnings. In some cases, the pop-ups appeared to be messages from well-known software companies, such as Microsoft.
These pop-ups suggested that consumers’ computers were at risk and instructed consumers to get immediate help by contacting a toll-free telephone number that connected consumers to sales agents at defendants’ inbound call center.
Building on the fear instilled by the pop-ups, these sales agents allegedly proceeded to lead callers through a carefully crafted, high-pressured sales script disguised as a computer diagnostic.
These allegedly false diagnostics invariably led to the same conclusion, that the consumer’s computer needed immediate servicing. Sales agents then convinced consumers to purchase high-priced virus protection software for the devices.
The complaint alleges violation of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act and seeks civil penalties, as well as preliminary injunctive relief and relief for consumers.
Attorney General Bondi’s Office is also asking the defendants to be permanently enjoined from advertising, marketing, promoting, providing, rendering, selling, soliciting, engaging in or accepting payment for any tech support services.
To view the complaint, click here.
This action is the ninth action in the tech support industry taken by Attorney General Bondi’s Office since November 2014. Florida has filed more litigation in this field than any other state.
Anyone who suspects unfair or deceptive business practices can file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office at MyFloridaLegal.com or call (866) 9-NO-SCAM.
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