This week the Federal Trade Commission launched a major international crackdown on tech support scams. Tech support scams are a niche phone fraud strategy used to trick consumers into believing their computer is infected with a virus or malware. The caller (fraudster) spoofs the caller ID, claims they are with a legitimate company such as Microsoft, McAfee, etc., and then offers to fix the computer on the spot for $49 to $450. If the consumer agreed, the fraudster would ask the consumer to download a piece of software to gain remote access to their computer.
The operations were primarily based out of India and targeted English speaking consumers in the United States Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. The FTC alleged that the fraudsters hoped to avoid detection by consumers and law enforcers by using virtual offices that were actually just mail-forwarding facilities, and by using 80 different domain names and 130 different phone numbers.