The operators of two tech support scams have agreed to settle
Federal Trade Commission charges that they tricked consumers into believing
their computers were infected with viruses and malware, and then charged them
hundreds of dollars for unnecessary repairs.
The defendants will be permanently banned from the tech support
business under the terms of the settlements.
According to complaints filed earlier by the FTC, the defendants
contacted consumers through phone calls or displayed advertisements on their computers
designed to resemble pop-up security alerts from Microsoft, Apple or other
technology companies. These ads warned consumers that their computers were
infected with viruses, had been hacked, or otherwise compromised, and urged
them to immediately call a toll-free number for assistance.
Once consumers called the toll-free number listed on the ads,
they were connected to a call center and pitched by telemarketers who claimed
to be affiliated with well-known technology companies such as Microsoft or Apple.
Consumers were told that in order to diagnose the problem, they had to provide
the telemarketers with remote access to their computer.
After gaining access to consumers’ computers, the telemarketers
purported to run a series of “diagnostic tests” that claimed to show that their
computers had major problems requiring immediate repair by one of their
“certified technicians.” Through these high-pressure tactics, the defendants
would persuade consumers to pay hundreds of dollars for unnecessary computer repair
services, service plans, anti-virus protection or software, and other products
and services. In some cases, the defendants even installed malware on
The defendants in both cases were charged as part of a major
international crack down called Operation Tech Trapannounced in May against tech support
A settlement with Madhu Sethi and Ila Sethi, who
did business as Troth Solutions and used both telephone calls as well as online
ads to contact consumers, permanently bans these defendants from advertising,
marketing, promoting or selling any tech support product or service. They also
are prohibited from collecting or attempting to collect payment for a tech
support product or service sold by the defendants, from deceptive
telemarketing, and misrepresenting their affiliation with another company or
entity. The settlement also imposes a $2 million judgment, most of which is
suspended. The FTC filed this complaint jointly with the State of
In the same matter, the court entered a default judgment of
$2,087,844.72 against six of the seven named corporate defendants, including Trothsolutions Inc., Trothsolutions
LLC, Quickkonto LLC, Crazy Bee Man of Palm Beach
Inc., eDoorways International Corp., and Airoways LLC. At the FTC and Alabama’s request, the
court also dismissed the seventh corporate defendant, Escue
As part of the FTC’s settlement with Universal Network Solutions, LLC, and Rajinder Singh, the
defendants, which used only online ads to contact consumers, agreed to similar
prohibitions against offering tech support products or services and
misrepresenting their affiliation with another company. The settlement also
imposes a $547,087 judgment, which will be suspended upon payment of $61,360.
The Commission vote approving the stipulated final orders in
both cases was 2-0. The order involving Madhu Sethi and Ila Sethi was entered
by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, Southern
Division. The FTC filed the proposed order involving
Universal Network Solutions and Singh in the U.S. District Court for the
District of Colorado.
NOTE: Stipulated final orders or
injunctions, etc. have the force of law when approved and signed by the
District Court judge.
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Gruenwald Hendersonlink sends e-mail),
of Public Affairs
Region Los Angeles