The scammers trick people into paying “support” charges by running a fake site that offers antivirus downloads intentionally failing on installation and telling the user to call the scammers. The fake “tech support” convince victims that their machines have a virus infection, install the software and charge annual fees. This kind of scam has already cost victims millions dollars around the world.
The security company Malwarebytes discovered the new version of the scam. The experts have reported several websites and informed LogMeIn, a legitimate remote support tool used by the scammers, of the codes used so they can be blocked.
Indeed, there are too many fraudulent companies today, which are overly aggressive in reaching out to people by any means. In this business environment, the companies that have started an honest business can realize how easy it is to earn millions using deceptive practices. This can’t be good news for people who are looking for support.
Most of the scammers work from Kolkata in India and use phone directories to cold-call people and convince them they are “from Microsoft” and that their computer has been reported as transmitting viruses. The victims are told they have errors in the system but can solve the problem for up to hundreds of dollars. They use remote support tool to obtain remote access to the system, and help people to “fix” the nonexistent problem.
4 years ago it was exposed how such “support scams” were being run from India. The UK newspaper the Guardian obtained details of 3 people from India and Canada, who allegedly were the leaders of the scam. They were believed to use an online payment company for routing their payments from victims. The newspaper passed all information it collected to police. Two years later, the FTC froze the American bank accounts and assets of some scammers in India under the allegation that thousands of Americans have been tricked into paying for the fake support.
Apparently, this move was not enough to stop gangs in India from scamming victims. As you understand, older people normally are unaware that Microsoft doesn’t make such calls. While the authorities do know that there are many scammers in India and the United States, it is hard to get an exact picture of interconnections between them. Part of the problem is that these groups use multiple identities, sites and phone numbers. As for the abovementioned antivirus scam, it was located in India, but the callers spoke perfect English language, in fact sounding like British. The investigators had to pick upon tiny details which could help to identify various accents and put people involved in the scam on a map – the hint was that accents vary per region in India.
Taking into account that an average support call center receives 3,000 calls a day, and the price for support services is $200-400, these operations turn into a multimillion dollar industry that is being exploited by the scammers every single day.