Attorney General Ken Paxton today announced that his office reached a final settlement with the three operators of a tech support scam who tricked consumers into buying expensive and unnecessary computer repairs.
The settlement is in conjunction with a nationwide sweep that Attorney General Paxton’s office helped lead, targeting fraudsters who engaged in tech support scams and other elder fraud cases.
The settlement by Attorney General Paxton’s Consumer Protection Division permanently closes eight implicated businesses, provides restitution to the victims, and includes a large civil penalty intended to deter future illegal conduct by the defendants and anyone else thinking about engaging in such a scam.
“The lesson here is that if you take advantage of Texans, you risk incurring the legal wrath of my office’s Consumer Protection Division,” Attorney General Paxton said. “In this case, we’ve held accountable the owners and operators of multiple companies that used deceptive scare tactics to dupe Texans out of their hard-earned money. We’ve put them out of business – and spared other Texans from getting ripped off.”
Under terms of the deal, more than $150,000 in restitution will be returned to victims of the tech support scam, with priority to consumers who filed complaints prior to the settlement. The funds will come from a court-ordered asset freeze obtained by Attorney General Paxton’s office when the lawsuit was filed in a 2017.
The settlement strictly prohibits Dilip Bose, Ritika Arora and Mohit Arora from ever advertising or selling any tech support service in the future. It also imposes a $10 million judgment against those individuals, which the state will only collect if they violate the terms of the agreement. The three individuals are required within 30 days to dissolve their companies: AMD Tech Solutions LLC, Com Connect It Services LLC, Escutcheon Technologies, LLC, HPC Techs LLC, Texas Tech Connect, LLC, The Rhombus Techs LLC, VAP Techs LLC, and WAP IT Services, LLC.
In carrying out their scheme, the defendants allegedly used pop-up messages designed to look like security warnings delivered to consumers by their internet browser or operating system. The messages tricked consumers into believing that a reputable tech company detected viruses or hacks to their computers. When consumers called the number displayed in the message for help, they were talked into allowing remote access to their computers, then duped by fake diagnostic tests that scared them into paying hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars to fix conexistent problems.
Attorney General Paxton’s office, in coordination with the National Association of Attorneys General, worked with the U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission and other regulators to help combat tech support scams.
The settlement announced today by Attorney General Paxton comes on the heels of another lawsuit filed by his office against a tech support scam. Just last week, his Consumer Protection Division obtained a temporary restraining order and asset freeze against the owners of other tech support companies that generated $11 million in revenue by taking advantage of unsuspecting consumers.
Texans who believe they are victims of a scam can file an online complaint with the attorney general’s office at https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/consumer-protection/file-consumer-complaint. The Federal Trade Commission provides consumers and businesses with tips on how to spot and avoid losing money to tech support scams at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/how-spot-avoid-and-report-tech-support-scams