The Federal Trade Commission secured full refunds for consumers conned by the NTS IT Care tech support scam, which tricked customers into buying expensive and unnecessary tech support services while claiming to be affiliated with big-name tech companies like Microsoft, Apple, and other tech companies.
The scam was directed toward older Americans and people unfamiliar with computer security who didn’t understand NTS IT Care was deceiving them. In 2020, the FTC reached a $4.9 million settlement with Jagmeet Singh Virk, chief executive officer of the company, the results of which have remained under seal pending the outcome of a criminal case involving Virk and his company filed by the Department of Justice.
The average refund is $937. Consumers will have 90 days to cash their settlement checks.
The FTC is just one of several government bureaus taking a stern stance on scammers. Malicious actors take a hefty toll on consumers, who often are left footing the bill of such cons. NTS IT Care used deceptive practices to scam 272 consumers out of more than $255,000. The group told targets their computers needed immediate repair and were subjected to high-pressure sales pitches to purchase multi-year technical support service packages costing up to $499.
While Virk and his cronies made millions preying off older adults, the FTC’s actions show there is no sympathy for malicious actors conducting such operations.
“As a recent report to Congress makes clear, the FTC is committed to taking action to protect older consumers from scams like that that have a disproportionate impact on them,” said Samuel Levine, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a press release. “And what’s more, the FTC will keep working with DOG to ensure criminal prosecutions follow criminal conduct.”
Repayments were temporarily halted as NTS was unable to pay. Virk and his company are permanently banned from selling or marketing any tech support service and benefiting from any personal data collected from consumers. The group has also received a lifetime ban from conducting misleading telemarketing practices and collecting payment from customers for technical support services it has already sold.