Metro-East News

Six more charged in ‘tech support’ scam that locked up people’s computers

Fraud charges have been filed against six more people for their alleged roles in an international “tech support” scam that victimized people who thought their computers were damaged.

The six live in Florida, but the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Illinois is prosecuting the scams that prosecutors say victimized more than 40,000 people, including some in St. Clair and Madison counties.

Indictments allege that Client Care/First Choice bought pop-up ads online that would lock up victims’ computer browsers. When victims called the number on the ads promising to fix the computer’s problem, they would be subjected to sales pitches for a $250 computer “tune up” and anti-virus protection for $400. Client First/First Choice made more than $25 million on the scam, prosecutors say.

Eight people were previously charged in the scam; three have pleaded guilty.

The Federal Trade Commission’s website has more information about tech support scams.