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Two people who posed as employees of major software-security companies and convinced consumers to pay hundreds of dollars to fix nonexistent computer viruses or other software problems, have agreed to cease operation and surrender their assets, according to the Federal Trade Commission Friday.
Mikael Marczak, doing business as Virtual PC Solutions, and Sanjay Agarwalla deceived consumers into believing their computers had been infected or had other problems and then pretended to remotely fix the problems.
Marczak, a Californian, and his business Conquest Audit was also found to have used telemarketing to sell debt relief services, in violation of federal law, the FTC said.
Agarwalla, of San Diego, must pay a $3,000 fine, the total amount he allegedly made from the scheme.
A judgment of $984,721 against Marczak and Conquest Audit, which represents the total amount consumers lost in the schemes, was entered, but is stayed "due to their inability to pay the full amount," the FTC said. Marczak and Conquest Audit will instead "surrender almost all of their existing assets."
Apparently a fake order confirmation email from "Wallmart," (notice the two L's) is making the rounds. Throughout the email, Walmart is also spelled properly.
Whistleblower, the individual, received a confirmation for an $898 3D HD TV with free shipping and $62.86 in tax. The order was to be sent to Alexis Young at 1822 Cotton Avenue, San Paolo, AL.
Whistleblower, the entity, received a confirmation for the same product, this time to be shipped to Chase Lopez at 1868 Cotton St., Pasadena, CA.
The email contains a number of links. You should resist the urge to click on any of them, which could expose your computer to malicious software or result in an attempt to convince you to provide personal, financial or account information.
Whistleblower, the individual, is checking with Walmart to see whether it wants consumers to forward the email to it.
The bank sends you an email saying that it noticed a questionable transaction on your account and asks you to provide financial information in order to verify the account.
A pop-up ad says it needs your personal information to make sure you are the rightful owner of your online account.
The communiques may be legitimate, but they are most likely the work of fraudsters trying to trick you into providing sensitive data. The practice is called phishing and the Federal Trade Commission is holding a "twitter chat" on the topic at 2:00 p.m. Thursday.
To participate you must have a twitter account. For twitterers in the know, follow @FTC and use the hashtag #ChatSTC.
To take an amusing phishing-scam online quiz created by the FTC, click here. It's a little Nemo-like, but it gets the point across.
The bureau received more than 9,300 moving-related complaints in 2012 ranging from damaged, missing items, surprise increases in charges and property being withheld until customers come up with the extra money, according to the BBB.
"A con artist with just a truck and a website can claim to be a legitimate mover with unfortunate results for consumers who don’t check out a company in advance,” said Linda Bauer Darr, president of the American Moving & Storage Association.
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