Rob here with Patriot Privacy and the Self-Reliance Institute.
As I mentioned in an alert the other day about the DarkHotel hacking scam that targets business travelers using Wi-Fi in hotels, the best protection against most every type of scam – whether it’s a targeted phishing attack or a con man at your door – is knowledge. Knowledge of the various types of scams and how they are carried out.
As I’m sure you’ve noted over the years, as we move into the holiday season, the number of Internet related scams always increases.
With that background, I want to tell you about another scam that is very prevalent even though the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently had some success in going after some of the scam artists involved.
In fact, let’s use the FTC’s case to shed light on this particular fraud and provide details about how the scam is carried out. This is one of at least 100 scams I will cover in an extensive book about scams that I am currently writing for publication. But I want you to have the details now for free.
Here’s the setup from the FTC’s recent announcement “FTC Obtains Court Orders Temporarily Shutting Down Massive Tech Support Scams”:
“At the request of the Federal Trade Commission and the State of Florida, a federal court has temporarily shut down two massive telemarketing operations that conned tens of thousands of consumers out of more than $120 million by deceptively marketing computer software and tech support services. The orders also temporarily freeze the defendants’ assets and place the businesses under the control of a court-appointed receiver.
“According to complaints filed by the FTC, since at least 2012, the defendants have used software designed to trick consumers into thinking there are problems with their computers, then subjected those consumers to high-pressure deceptive sales pitches for tech support products and services to fix their non-existent computer problems.
“’These operations prey on consumers’ lack of technical knowledge with deceptive pitches and high-pressure tactics to sell useless software and services to the tune of millions of dollars,’ said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. …
“According to the FTC’s complaints, each scam starts with computer software that purports to enhance the security or performance of consumers’ computers. Typically, consumers download a free trial version of software that runs a computer system scan. The defendants’ software scan always identifies numerous errors on consumers’ computers, regardless of whether the computer has any performance problems.
“The software then tells consumers that, in order to fix the identified errors, they will have to purchase the paid version of the software. In reality, the FTC alleges, the defendants pitching the software designed these highly deceptive scans to identify hundreds or even thousands of “errors” that have nothing to do with a computer’s performance or security. After consumers purchase the “full” version of the software at a cost of $29 to $49, the software directs them to call a toll-free number to “activate” the software.
“When consumers call the activation number, however, they are connected to telemarketers who try to sell computer repair services and computer software using deceptive scare tactics to deceive consumers into paying for unneeded computer support services.
“According to the FTC, the telemarketers tell consumers that, in order to activate the software they have just purchased, they must provide the telemarketers with remote access to their computers. The telemarketers then launch into a scripted sales pitch that includes showing consumers various screens on their computers, such as the Windows Event Viewer, and falsely claiming that these screens show signs that consumers’ computers have significant damage. After convincing consumers that their computers need immediate help, the telemarketers then pitch security software and tech support services that cost as much as $500.” [Emphasis added]
So that’s how the scam operates. Please share this information with your friends and family so that they can be forewarned.
And believe me, just because the FTC is prosecuting a few individuals and companies involved in this scam doesn’t mean there aren’t dozens of other criminals also conducting this scam.
Also, just a reminder that Chris and I are constantly on the prowl for resources to enhance your personal and financial privacy and security. Please check out the Self-Reliance Institute where we share exclusive insider information and resources with members of the Institute. And, most important from a value perspective, all of the accumulated eBooks, Advisories, Newsletters and other resources that Chris and I have produced and acquired since the inception of the Institute are immediately yours for free if you become a member. It’s a huge collection of exclusive material and it grows every week.
I also want you to know that in the very near future we’ll be releasing a new eBook covering dozens of scams and how to defend against those scams. Members of the Self-Reliance Institute will have first crack at that book.
Finally, if you join now, you get a free Special Forces Survival Knife and a free month of membership in the Self-Reliance Institute. I can’t make it any better than that!!
Thank you for your time today.
Be safe, secure and free!
Rob Douglas (email: [email protected]) – Former Washington DC Private Detective
Freedom Writers Publishing
1815 Central Park Dr. #358
Steamboat Springs, CO 80487