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Security & privacy

The FTC is paying tech support scam victims – here’s how to get your cut

There’s no shame in admitting when you’ve ever fallen for a scam. After all, you’re not the only one. Let’s face it, if they weren’t successful at finding new victims, cybercriminals would pack up and go home.

Instead, they stick around and come up with clever new ways to rip people off. A popular trend among thieves these days is spoofing websites and emails to make you believe they represent official companies. Tap or click here for examples of spoofed phishing scams.

Another popular con to watch for is tech support scams. These types of scams have been around for years and you, or someone you know, may have fallen for one. Now for the good news: You may be able to get some of that money back.

FTC to the rescue

Do you remember the massive Equifax data breach we learned about a few years ago? The personal information of 147 million people was exposed in that breach and it led to a huge financial settlement shared among the victims. Sadly, the settlement wasn’t nearly big enough to reimburse victims appropriately.

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Now, there’s another refund offered by the Federal Trade Commission. This one is meant to reimburse victims of recent tech support scams and is a bit more substantial than the one Equifax victims received.

Here’s what happened.

Scammers operating as Click4Support and other sites advertised names on search engines like Google and appeared as pop-ups on websites. The ads and pop-ups claimed to be from major tech companies like Apple and Microsoft. They tricked victims into calling in and paying for fake tech support services.

Imposters pretending to work for those companies asked callers to allow remote access to their computers. Then the fraudsters would lie about their victims’ machines being infected with a virus. Of course, they charged a fee to “remove” the make-believe virus and the victims paid up.

The FTC filed a lawsuit against the scammers and agreed to a settlement. If you were a victim of this scam, you could be reimbursed around $30. That’s probably less than what you lost in the scam, but it’s better than getting nothing back at all.

How to get your cut

It’s estimated that just under 58,000 people will get refunds for this scam. Most recipients will receive their refunds via PayPal, but you can choose to get it via check if that’s what you prefer.

If you have questions on how to get your refund, contact the FTC’s refund administrator, Rust Consulting, Inc., at 1-877-389-4472.

You may also like: Popular browser rolls out new feature to protect your privacy

Settlements and product recalls are happening all the time. To stay informed, sign up for Kim’s Security Alerts newsletter.

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