I received a call last week on my home land line and when I picked it up (hardly anyone I want to actually talk to calls my home telephone number) the caller on the other end informed me that he was from “Microsoft 10,” that I had a terrible virus in my computer and that they had detected it and needed to fix it right away.
I personally love to torture these callers when they call and I have time. I first ask where their company, “Microsoft 10,” is incorporated and where its principle place of business is located. What is the name of their CEO? Are they publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange? What is their relationship with Microsoft? By the first question, they are usually dumbfounded and they either hang up or I hang up after they can’t answer the third question.
We’ve all had the same experience with these calls and they seem to be happening more frequently.
The good news is that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) this week made some progress in stopping these calls. Although I am not fooled by these calls, every day consumers, and particularly the elderly, are tormented by these calls and they become the victims of fraud.
The FTC announced this week that it has entered into an order with the Florida Attorney General against Inbound Call Experts, LLC, Advanced Tech Support Co., LLC, PC Vitalware, LLC, and Super PC Support, LLC. Along with a payment of $10 million, the defendants are required to stop telling consumers that they have found viruses on their computers, and to stop misrepresenting that they are able to do so. They are also required to review the business practices of any lead generators that they use. Apparently the defendants were using high pressure sales tactics to make the consumers believe that they were able to detect malware and viruses on individuals’ home computers.
Although the FTC has levied this hefty fine on these telemarketing companies, I expect that the calls will continue throughout 2017 and beyond, and that individuals will continue to believe the caller and set themselves up for fraud.
Beware of unknown individuals calling you and telling you that you have an issue with your computer. Ask them a few basic legitimate questions that they will not be able to answer the questions and they will hang up. Or just hang up on them.
Either way, don’t give anyone pretending to be “tech support” your user name or password or any information about you. Complain about them to the FTC and tell your family and friends not to be fooled by them. If they are unable to get information from you or others, they will not be able to stay in business as they will not be able to make money. And after all, that is the key to all of these schemes—to get you to give them your information so they can use it against you and to commit fraud against you. Don’t be an easy target—let’s all work together to stop these fraudulent telemarketing schemes.