In November of 2014, the Federal Trade Commission announced that “two massive telemarketing operations” had been temporarily shut down after collecting over $120 million by “deceptively marketing computer software and tech support services.” It wasn’t long before these companies lost significant court judgements to the FTC, but by then, the money was gone.
Naturally, this does not bode well for those who were scammed of that money.
In December of 2016, the FTC came to a settlement with Advanced Tech Support, one of the perpetrators of these scams. This settlement recovered $10 million of the company’s ill-gotten gains.
Advanced Tech Support had been running the old scam where they would push the sale of their ‘services’ by telling their customers/victims that their computers were infected--when they weren’t--to get them to call Advanced Tech Support. Once they called, these victims were coerced into signing up for tech support subscriptions that did little more than drain hundreds from their bank accounts.
Advanced Tech Support is permitted to continue business, but they will have to pay to have a court-appointed monitor make sure they don’t slip back into their old ways, in addition to the $10 million settlement mentioned above.
Why Victims May Be Out of Luck
As it would turn out, that $10 million settlement may very well be what is to be used to pay back the victims of these scams. Another company was ordered to pay $36.4 million, but were unable to due to lack of funds. This company wound up having to relinquish all of their assets as a term in the case settlement.
When all's said, and done, victims of these scams may be refunded somewhere below 10% of their total losses.
While our hearts go out to the victims, we can’t help but wonder what would have happened if this scam had been leveraged against a business. Jobs would be lost, clients alienated, and the business would have failed long before the case would get to trial.
Taking this into consideration, you need to ensure that your business is protected against scammers like these, and that your employees have a trustworthy source of support that they can rely on. We can help. Call Austin Technology Group at (512) 494-6978 to learn more.