FTC Sending Refund Checks to People Tricked by Tech Support Scams
The United States Federal Trade Commission today announced that it is sending out refund checks totaling over $1.7 million to people who fell victim to tech support scams.
Scam companies like Click4Support created ads on various websites claiming to be from tech support companies like Apple and Microsoft, tricking consumers into calling them for unneeded tech support services.
Click4Support representatives would convince people into providing them with remote access to their computers for identifying non-existent viruses and malware. The fake services were sold both on a one time fee basis or with a long-term service plan, with the fake company charging from $69 to thousands of dollars.
The FTC shut down Click4Support and other similar companies back in 2015 and filed legal action at that time, with refunds finally available for customer who were tricked into shelling out money.
The FTC is providing refunds averaging approximately $30 each to victims, and most recipients will receive their refunds through PayPal, though some will receive checks. The money is sourced from Click4Support after a federal court in 2018 ruled that its assets should be used to reimburse customers who lost money due to the scams.
While this is a small victory for some users who have been tricked by scammers, scams have unfortunately grown much more sophisticated over the course of the last five years.
Apple maintains a dedicated support page that instructs customers on how to avoid phishing emails, fake virus alerts, fake phone calls, and other similar scams. These tips are well worth reading for anyone who owns an Apple device.