In consumer protection news, the FTC sued Universal Network Solutions, LLC over deceptive marketing in the way that the company offered tech support products or services. In the proposed order, Universal Network Solutions, LLC or Rajinder Singh are permanently barred from promoting, marketing, or selling tech support products or services; assisting in or providing consulting services related to the promoting, marketing, or selling of tech support products or services; owning, controlling, or serving as an officer in a business related to the consulting or sale of tech support products or services. In effect, Universal Network Solutions, LLC was shut down and the FTC has forbidden its owner to continue business practices or to start a similar business.
Additionally, Universal Network Solutions, LLC was ordered by the court to stop misleading advertising and ordered the defendants to pay $547,087.
Operation Tech Trap
The lawsuit against Universal Network Solutions, LLC is just one of many as the FTC begins their Operation Tech Trap. The FTC is working with federal, state, and international law enforcement agencies to protect consumers from “tech support” companies who trick consumers into believing that their computers are infected with a virus or some form of malware.
The FTC stated in their press release that most of the tech support scams follow the same pattern of misconduct. First, they capitalize on the fear that people have about losing important photos, documents, and financial information because of malware and other cyber-threats. Then, they designed pop-up ads that misled consumers into thinking their computer or anti-virus software was alerting them to an active threat. The ads gave consumers a phone number to call for help. Many of the ads even included a countdown that scared consumers into believing that they only had a limited amount of time to call and save their hard drives.
When consumers would call, they were told that the representative needed remote access to their computer. The representatives would generally tell consumers that they were associated with big-name technology companies and that they needed to perform “diagnostic tests.” The “tests” would reveal a problem that only one of the company’s “certified” support agents could fix. Consumers were bilked out of hundreds of dollars for what the FTC referred to as “unnecessary computer repair services” and other products and services.
Learn More about Tech Support Scams
If you believe that you have been a victim of a tech support scam, read this page put together by the FTC.