AG Bondi announces another major tech support scam settlementStaff Writer | July 15, 2016
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a settlement with PC Cleaner, Netcom3 Global, Netcom3, and Cashier Myricks, the principal of the three corporations.
Support scams A judgment of more than $29 million
“Personal computers and laptops play an integral role in the daily lives of most Floridians, and scammers are constantly trying to exploit this dependence on technology,” said Attorney General Bondi.
“That is why I am working with our federal partners to shut down tech support scams that aim to bilk consumers out of millions of dollars every year.”
The defendants initially hooked consumers by offering free trials of their registry software, PC Cleaner Pro, or free scans of consumers’ computers to identify potential problems.
Once consumers downloaded the free program, PC Cleaner Pro appeared to run a system scan that invariably detected a host of malicious or otherwise dangerous files and programs, including malware and system errors.
These scans were designed to falsely identify problems on consumers’ computers, exaggerate minor issues and otherwise deceive consumers into thinking that their computers were significantly compromised.
The free scans also displayed false messages claiming that many innocuous files such as temporary files, web browser cookies and Windows default settings were problems.
To rid consumers’ computers of these fake or exaggerated problems, the defendants’ website offered the paid version of its software program, PC Cleaner Pro, starting at $29.99.
Between 2011 and 2013, consumers downloaded PC Cleaner Pro, free and/or paid versions, more than 450,000 times. ■