FTC to issue $1.7M in refunds to victims of tech support scams
Nearly 58,000 people will be receiving refunds after being tricked into believing their computers were infected with viruses and malware, by scammers claiming to be from Apple and Microsoft.
The FTC, along with Connecticut and Pennsylvania, allege that a scam that operated under the title "Click4Support" used search engine ads and popups to trick users into believing their computers had been compromised. The website would then direct customers to call and purchase tech support services that the customer did not need, as is typical for tech support scams in general.
This specific scam seemed to be particularly effective. According to FTC records, Click4Support scammed more than $17 million dollars out of customers by pretending to represent major tech companies, such as Apple and Microsoft, tricking and charging users for effectively useless support services they did not require.
The FTC will be providing nearly 58,000 refunds, each averaging about 30 dollars, to those who were taken advantage of by the scammers, with most paid their refunds via PayPal though but some may receive checks. It is advised that anyone who receives a check from the FTC to deposit or cash their check within 60 days.
According to the dedicated refunds page, 147 checks will be sent, while the vast majority will be made up of PayPal payments. There is a 30-day limit for people who receive the PayPal payment to accept it, while checks need to be cached within 60 days.
Furthermore, the FTC warns potential refund receivers of other scams that masquerade as FTC refund offers, and that the FTC never requires anyone to pay money or provide account information to cash a refund check at all. Questions about refunds can be made by refund administrator Rust Consulting.
The FTC, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania announced settlements with Click4Support and companies and individuals involved with the scam in May 2017, banning them from marketing tech support services and fining the companies involved. The entire affair was part of Operation Tech Trap, an international crackdown of tech support scams.