A Boynton Beach company is a leading target of a stepped-up crackdown on tech support schemes, which Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi characterized Friday as a “trick” to separate consumers from millions of dollars — all to solve problems that never existed.
“Tech support scams prey on people’s fear of losing important work, family photos or sensitive identification information,” Bondi said. “Using that fear, scammers trick thousands of consumers in to paying millions of dollars to fix problems that never existed. These scams will not be tolerated in Florida and that is why we are bringing more cases against more tech support scammers than any other state in the country—to protect consumers and recover money for victims.”
GoReady Calls Marketing LLC and principals Adam Lennox and Evan Keen are named in a suit Bondi’s office filed in Palm Beach County Circuit Court under the state’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
A call to the company was not immediately returned Friday.
Consumers are targeted using pop-up ads disguised as computer virus alerts that tell consumers to call a number for help, state officials said. The number connects callers to a sales agent at a call center who “confirms” the computer is infected and in need of services or software, according to the suit.
The services are “unneccessary and costly,” state officials said.
In one example of tactics firms use, a pop-up warning in red urged consumers to call a number to “STOP Deleting Hard Drive,” complete with a “meaningless error code,” according to the suit.
The suit seeks a permanent injunction to prevent further violations, restitution for consumers and civil penalties of $10,000 per violation, or $15,000 for victimized senior citizens.
Bondi’s office said it was the 12th such action against tech-support firms, leading the nation. Additional suits targeted other firms around Florida and state officials joined with the Federal Trade Commission in the crackdown.
The state’s full release is here:
Attorney General Bondi Continues Efforts to Shut Down Tech Scams
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Attorney General Pam Bondi today announced the filing of three complaints, including one filed jointly with the Federal Trade Commission, against companies allegedly involved in the operation of tech support scams. Tech support scams trick consumers into believing their computers are infected with viruses and malware in an effort to bilk users out of hundreds of dollars.
“Tech support scams prey on people’s fear of losing important work, family photos or sensitive identification information. Using that fear, scammers trick thousands of consumers in to paying millions of dollars to fix problems that never existed,” said Attorney General Bondi. “These scams will not be tolerated in Florida and that is why we are bringing more cases against more tech support scammers than any other state in the country—to protect consumers and recover money for victims.”
These recent scams all involve similar tactics targeting consumers by using pop-up ads disguised as computer virus alerts that instruct consumers to call a number for help. This number connects callers to a sales agent at a call center who allegedly confirms the computer is infected and in need of services. The scammers exploit consumers’ fears about computer viruses, malware, hackers and other security threats, to ultimately convince them to purchase unnecessary and costly technical support services or software products.
Attorney General Bondi’s Office alleges that the following companies are in violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act:
- GoReadyCalls Marketing, LLC, A.E.A. Worldwide, LLC, Capital Investments, LLC, Cutting Edge Outlook, LLC, Kradanomic Solutions, LLC, Secure It Digital Solutions, LLC, Software Pros, LLC, Teamkeen, LLC, Us Software Experts, LLC, Us Software Pros, LLC, Wizard Tech Solutions, LLC, Adam Lennox, Evan Keen;
- Learn More Media, Inc. and Elesha Aflalo; and
- Vylah Tec LLC d/b/a Vtec Support, Express Tech Help LLC, Tech Crew Support LLC, Angelo Cupo, Dennis Cupo and Robert Cupo.
Each complaint orders the freezing of assets, seeks immediate access to the business premises and the appointment of a receiver. The complaints filed against Learn More Media Inc., GoReadyCalls Marketing, LLC and related entities and individuals, also seek preliminary and permanent injunctions, full consumer restitution, disgorgement of ill-gotten monies and attorneys’ fees and costs.
Attorney General Bondi’s Office and the Federal Trade Commission jointly filed the complaint against Vtec Support in the Middle District of Florida. Today, Attorney General Bondi joined representatives from the Federal Trade Commission in Tampa to announce a major national and international crackdown on tech support scams. To learn more about this multiagency law enforcement sweep, click here.
Since November 2014, Attorney General Bondi’s Office has filed 12 actions against tech support scam operations, leading the nation in shutting down these bad actors.
Anyone who suspects unfair or deceptive business practices can file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office online at MyFloridaLegal.com or call (866) 9-NO-SCAM.