Lead Generator Defendants in Tech-Support Scam Agree to Settlement
The defendants allegedly tricked consumers into thinking they had computer problems—then subjected them to high-pressure sales tactics for tech support services
A group of lead generator defendants who participated in a massive technical support scam that was shut down by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the State of Florida will be required to perform due diligence on businesses before they generate and sell leads. Under the terms of a settlement, the defendants will also pay $258,000.
The complaint—filed by the agencies in 2014—alleged that Cashier Myricks and corporate defendants PC Cleaner, Inc., Netcom3 Global, Inc., and Netcom3, Inc. (doing business as Netcom3 Software, Inc.), provided "free trial" versions of software purportedly designed to enhance the security or performance of personal computers to consumers online.
The complaint against the defendants alleged that, once it was downloaded, the software always identified problems with a consumer's computer, requiring the "full" paid version of the software—even when there were no real problems with the computer.
According to the complaint, the defendants then told consumers that to "activate" their software they were required to call a phone number that connected them to the telemarketing defendants named in the case, who then used high-pressure sales tactics to sign consumers up for unneeded technical support subscriptions and services often costing hundreds of dollars.
Under the terms of the settlement, the defendants are prohibited from deceiving consumers in the process of selling goods and services. Further, the defendants are required to review the business practices of companies for whom they generate leads to ensure that those companies are not misleading consumers or violating the FTC Act or Florida's Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
The settlement contains a monetary judgment of $29.54 million, which is suspended based on the defendants' financial condition.
The defendants will be required to pay $258,000, including the proceeds from the sale of certain assets which include a 2012 Bentley and a 2013 Range Rover. Should the court later find that the defendants misrepresented their financial situation, the full amount of the judgment would come due.