The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) estimates that consumers lost $24.6 million from tech-support scams in 2015 and 2016. The average consumer loses about $280 on each scam.
Last year, the FTC received nearly 143,000 reports about tech support scams.
But, an even more revealing statistic is that the FTC found that people 60 and older were five times more likely than younger people to tell the agency that they lost money in this type of scam. Additionally, the older group were less likely than younger people to say they lost money to other types of scams.
The FTC’s Fight Against Scammers Targeting Older Adults
Over the years, the FTC has brought many cases against tech support scammers, including one against Elite IT.
In March, the FTC filed a lawsuit, stating Elite bought keywords on Google that allowed cybercriminals to target people searching for how to recover lost passwords. The people would fill out online forms and give their contact information, and then, Elite’s telemarketers would call and ask to get online access to their computers to check for problems. Once they gained access, the telemarketer would show victims fake “evidence” of viruses or other threats that, they said, had to be removed right away. Then, the telemarketers would rope victims into paying for unnecessary repairs or enrolling in costly maintenance plans they didn’t need.
This most recent lawsuit is part of the agency’s largest-ever nationwide elder fraud sweep that focuses on tech support fraud.
Other FTC Resources Available
In addition to the sweep, the FTC is encouraging people to visit ftc.gov/techsupportscams to learn how to protect themselves and others against these frauds and what to do if they get scammed.
The agency also has a video of a first-person account of a tech support scam and how the victim dealt with it.
Report a Tech Support Scam Today?
Anyone who has learned about a tech support scam should report it at ftc.gov/complaint. After reporting the scam, you should also read about how to protect yourself and your family from these types of scams.
As the FTC works to combat tech support scams, merchants who offer honest services need to be able to operate. Due to the fear of many tech support scams in the digital space, many banks don’t want to work with these types of businesses. They don’t want to deal with the risk that comes with tech support businesses.
Businesses who operate online need tech support merchant accounts. In order to accept debit and credit card transactions, they need merchant accounts. To get one, they need to go to an alternative lender, such eMerchantBroker.com (EMB).
EMB is a high-risk merchant service provider who works with those in the tech support sector. It offers a simple, quick online application process. Most merchants get approved in as little as a couple days.
EMB also offers fraud prevention and a chargeback mitigation alert system.