Fast Fix 123: Ban PB Co. tech ‘scam’ execs for good, Fla. AG says

Florida’s Attorney General said Tuesday she wants a permanent order barring executives at a “scam” company operating in West Palm Beach and Boynton Beach from working in tech support again.

On the same day, federal officials warned another tech-support company previously shut down has tried to reach customers again to offer resumed service or phony refunds.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has activated the state's price gouging hotline.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi 

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi filed a complaint in Palm Beach County Circuit Court against Fast Fix 123 LLC and Paul Cozzolino, Tyler Foss and Dennis Rinker. Attempts to reach them were not successful. A company number has been disconnected.

“This scam was designed to trick consumers, some of them seniors, into believing their computers were severely compromised and scare them into buying unnecessary protection software,”  Bondi said in a statement. “With today’s action, we are seeking to shut down this tech support scam and acquire relief for the victims.”

The complaint seeks civil penalties and seeks defendants to be “permanently enjoined from advertising, marketing, promoting, providing, rendering, selling, soliciting, engaging in or accepting payment for any tech support services.”

It is the ninth action taken by Bondi’s office against tech support firms since late 2014, marking the most by any state, according to her office. Palm Beach County has been a hotbed for call centers used in the scheme, though many have closed their doors months or years ahead of enforcement actions like this one.

But the operators don’t always go away for good. Also on Tuesday, the Federal Trade Commission warned consumers are getting calls offering “refunds” or resuming service on behalf of a tech-support company previously shut down called Global Connect, accused of deceptive practices in a Missouri case.

“Don’t do it,” the FTC warned. “Never give someone who calls you control of your computer. Instead, hang up and report it to the FTC.”

In the Palm Beach County case, deceptive internet pop-up windows disguised as legitimate operating system or web browser security warnings appeared to be messages from well-known software companies, such as Microsoft, according to state officials.

The pop-ups said consumers’ computers were at risk and instructed them to get help by contacting a toll-free telephone number that connected consumers to sales agents at inbound call centers. Consumers were then pressured to buy high-priced virus protection software, officials said.

The complaint includes nuggets from the sales script, like this one playing on customer fears:

 

If the customer is still standoffish read this: What were you doing on your computer when you received the pop up? (They generally were doing something they shouldn’t have that caused this pop up and this will typically lower their guard when they recognize THEY are the cause of this, NOT YOU.)

 

 

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