The settlements resolve a 2017 lawsuit accusing Repair All PC and several related companies and individuals of tricking consumers into believing their computers were infected with malware, then charging them hundreds of dollars for unnecessary repairs.
“This scheme affected people in Ohio and across the country, and we were pleased to work with the Federal Trade Commission to shut it down,” DeWine said. “Scams regularly cross state and national borders, so this kind of collaboration is an important part of protecting consumers.”
As part of the scheme, the defendants allegedly caused pop-up security warnings to appear on consumers’ computers, falsely claiming the computers had been infected with a virus, hacked, or otherwise compromised. The warning told consumers to call a toll-free number for help. Once consumers called, they were connected to telemarketers who asked for remote access to their computers and who claimed to find errors, viruses, spyware, malware, or other problems. The operators also gave people the impression that they were affiliated with well-known companies like Microsoft or Apple. Eventually, the telemarketers asked for payment.
The defendants were Repair All PC LLC; Pro PC Repair LLC; I Fix PC LLC; WebTech World LLC; Online Assist LLC; Datadeck LLC; I Fix PC (also doing business as Techers 247, I Fix PC, and I Fix PC 247); Jessica Marie Serrano; Dishant Khanna; Mohit Malik; Romil Bhatia; Lalit Chadha; and Roopkala Chadha.
As part of orders filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, the defendants are barred from offering tech support products and services, from engaging in deceptive telemarketing practices, from misrepresenting their affiliation with another company, and from collecting or attempting to collect payment for tech support products or services.
Computer repair schemes are one of the scams addressed by the Ohio Attorney General’s “Ohio Protects” multi-media outreach campaign. Consumers can learn more or report suspected fraud by visiting www.OhioProtects.org or by calling 800-282-0515.