Washington DC (STL.News) – The Federal Trade Commission is sending refund checks and PayPal payments totaling more than $802,000 to 12,140 consumers as part of a settlement with the operators of a St. Louis-based scam that tricked consumers into buying unnecessary technical support services.
Eligible consumers paid for tech support products and services from Global Access Technical Support, which also used the names Global sMind, Global S Connect, Yubdata Tech, and Technolive.
The FTC alleged the defendants worked with affiliate marketers to place pop-up ads that falsely claimed the consumer’s computer was infected with viruses or malware. The ads urged consumers to immediately call a toll-free number for help. When consumers called the number, they were connected to telemarketers who falsely claimed to be affiliated with Microsoft or Apple. The telemarketers claimed they needed remote access to consumers’ computers to diagnose the problem. Once given access, the telemarketers tricked consumers into believing that harmless directories on their computers were evidence of problems that required immediate repair.
Consumers who receive a check from the FTC should deposit or cash the checks within 60 days, as indicated on the check. For the first time, the FTC is also sending refund payments via PayPal to consumers for whom the agency does not have a mailing address. Consumers will have 30 days to accept the PayPal payment. The FTC’s consumer blog post provides more details about how the refund process will work.