Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced that he has sued the operators of a tech support scam as part of a nationwide crackdown on fraudsters who try to trick consumers into buying costly tech support and repair services.
“They might as well be selling a magic potion with eye of newt to fix your computer,” said Yost. “It’s a rip-off and I’m not going to stand for it.”
In coordination with attorneys general from across the country through the National Association of Attorneys General, Ohio joined the U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission and other regulators in a nationwide sweep to combat tech support scammers.
Tech support scams work in similar ways. Scammers use phone calls and online ads resembling security alerts from major technology companies to trick consumers into contacting the operators of these schemes and providing access to the consumers’ computers. The scammers will claim consumers’ computers are infected with viruses or experiencing other problems. They then try to pressure consumers, especially the elderly, into buying unnecessary computer repair services, service plans, anti-virus protection or software and other products and services.
Today’s filing alleges Aman Sachan, of Westerville, operated Support By Experts, LLC and Real Tech Experts, LLC, each of which was purportedly involved in tech support scams throughout Ohio.
Specifically, the complaint alleges the defendants created pop-up advertisements, encouraging consumers to call them by saying the consumer’s computer was infected with a virus. When the consumer called, the defendants allegedly then sold consumers a worthless product for hundreds of dollars. The complaint charges multiple violations of the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act and seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, consumer restitution and civil penalties.
As part of an education effort, Yost has also released a video encouraging Ohioans to be diligent in spotting and avoiding tech support scams.
Attorneys general through the National Association of Attorneys General, the Dept. of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission worked for more than a year on the initiative. In addition to Ohio, 16 other states and Washington, D.C., participated.