Two fake tech-support scammers have been arrested by the FBI in the U.S for defrauding over $10 million from over 7500 victims – most of whom were elderly. The frauds took place from March 2015 through to December 2018.
The pair of scammers, who were from Las Vegas and New York, were arrested on the 18th of September and charged with one count of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, with each charge carrying a maximum 20-year sentence.
The alleged fraud used the old technique of utilising malicious websites to send pop-ups to unsuspecting victims convincing them their computer was infected with viruses. A telephone number would be provided for victims to call, which would put them through to someone to repair the so-called ‘infected’ system.
The scammers could then take control of the victim’s computer and act as though they were fixing the non-existent virus, while charging the victims varying amounts in the process. The fraudsters would offer either a one-time only or lifetime repair, sometimes running into thousands of dollars for the privilege.
A side fraud was also part of the scam, where the pair would trick victims into thinking the support company had gone out of business and were due a refund. The fraudsters then tried to convince victims they had paid back too much due to a typing error and needed to reimburse the company with thousands of dollars, which were typically paid back to the company in gift cards.
Over 7500 victims were involved in this scam – the vast majority being elderly users who probably wouldn’t have realised they were being deceived. The pair who set up the scam are now awaiting trial.
KitGuru says: Online and phone scammers are rife these days, which is a big problem for vulnerable people – especially the elderly. Have you or someone you know ever been a victim of an online scam? Let us know how it affected you.