It's a scam that apparently costed millions of dollars: you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from tech support at Microsoft, Symantec or McAfee. They say they've detected a problem on our computer and ask you to install remote access software on your computer in order to fix the potential problem. The result: you're computer is compomised.
Despite that some of the con acts resembled "a bad Bollywood movie", US authorities have overnight conceded there is little hope for financial reimbursement to victims.
US authorities announced htey have raided a number of companies posing as legitimate support staff for Microsoft, McAfee and Symantec.
The authorities seized $US188,000 ($A183,936) in assets held by dozens of outed fraudsters that targeted nations including Australia, the US and Canada. They also seized domain names and blocked phone numbers linked to six tech support scams, 14 companies and 17 individuals operating in India, with a handful of operators located in the US.
Australia has been described as a "testing ground" for IT security support scams after
The companies also purchased Google keyword advertising against the company names in efforts to trap victims.
Each attempted to fleece between $50 and $450 from victims to have the false security threats removed.
Attempts to shut down the scams have been met with various frustrations over the past three years, with Microsoft itself unsure of its legal position outside of the US or Australia.
Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) chief executive Chris Chapman said half of the 10,000 complaints the regulator received in 2010 relating to the Do Not Call Register were as a result of the phone scams.
"That was just the tip of the iceberg," Chapman said during a press conference at the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) early this morning.
The ACMA has released a consumer information campaign to warn of the dangers of information security scams dubbed "Spot the scammers and stop the scammers".