Basing your scam around the government agency meant to protect consumers from getting scammed is not a smart thing to do. This is a lesson that Florida man Daniel Croft is currently learning. Today the Federal Trade Commission announced that it has successfully obtained a preliminary injunction that forbids Croft from telling unsuspecting consumers that the FTC hired him to conduct tech support. He’s been doing so since at least last July.
Croft made up a bogus FTC press release in hopes of convincing people that another company had been shut down by the agency for installing malicious software on PCs, and that his own nonsense companies — PC Guru Tech Support and Elite Tech Support — had been hired to help fix the situation. For a price, that is.
You’d think this would lead Croft’s targets to get in touch with the real, actual FTC about the questionable situation, but that apparently didn’t occur to him. He figured that putting his own phone number in the emails would be enough to stay under the radar. Not quite, Danny. If people failed to respond, Croft would try to escalate their fears by saying their PCs were sending data to hackers and “seriously infected” with malware.
The FTC is asking the court to permanently stop the scam and force Croft “to stop claiming he’s affiliated with the FTC, to shut down his websites and phone numbers, and inform current customers who contact him that he is not affiliated with the FTC.” Also, just so there’s no confusion here, the agency today published a blog post with a very simple message: the FTC won’t offer to fix your computer. But it will most certainly come after you if you claim a false connection to the FTC in hopes of scamming random people out of their money.