FTC Shuts Down Company that Made $2.5 Million Masquerading as Facebook & Microsoft

24 October 2014 Internet, IT & e-Discovery Blog Blog
Authors: Peter Vogel

A court granted the FTC’s motion to “shut down a company that scammed computer users by tricking them into paying hundreds of dollars for technical support services they did not need, as well as software that was otherwise available for free.” In the case of FTC v. Pairsys, Inc. et al, the FTC persuaded a US District Judge in the Northern District of New York to issue an injunction to cease their operations. The FTC alleged that since 2012 the defendants made over $2.5 million with these scams:

Whether consumers were cold-called by the company or drawn in by deceptive ads, the FTC’s complaint notes that what followed was a deceptive and high-pressure sales pitch conducted by scammers in an overseas call center. The scammers would convince a consumer to allow them to have remote control over the individual’s computer, in order to analyze the supposed issues.

Once they had access to a consumer’s computer, the FTC alleges, the scammers would lead the consumer to believe that benign portions of the computer’s operating system were in fact signs of viruses and malware infecting the consumer’s computer. In many cases, they implied that the computer was severely compromised and had to be “repaired” immediately.

At that point, consumers were pressured into paying for bogus warranty programs and software that was freely available, usually at a cost of $149 to $249, though in some cases, the defendants charged as much as $600 for the supposed products. The FTC’s filings in the case allege that the company made nearly $2.5 million since early 2012.

Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection stated:

The defendants behind Pairsys targeted seniors and other vulnerable populations, preying on their lack of computer knowledge to sell ‘security’ software and programs that had no value at all,

Although successful in shutting down these scammers, there are still many stealing monies from unsuspecting Internet users.

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