The Federal Trade Commission said Wednesday that Office Depot and a technology support company would raise a collective sum of $ 35 million to agree with the agency on the claim that they both participated in a computer repair service who brought a fake malware scan.
Using a program called PC Health Check, the FTC alleged in its complaint that Office Depot, its subsidiary OfficeMax, and its service provider, Support.com, ran a program allegedly carrying malware malware on customers' computers Reality only to the positive answers that were presented in a four-part questionnaire. In essence, according to the complaint, the program did not do what it said, but was designed to identify obvious malware when respondents answered "yes" to the questions.
Among the questions posed by the PC Health Check program also included whether a person's machine was affected frequently crashed, was slow, showed pop-up ads or warned of viruses. If someone has checked the boxes for these questions, the program will ask them to buy expensive technical fixes for the problems that can cause hundreds of dollars per individual service.
Each complaint, Office Depot, and OfficeMax instructed their employees "to offer the PC Health Check program offer on every computer a consumer brought to a store." The service embarrassed consumers with tens of millions of dollars in services and repairs, the FTC said.
The complaint states that Office Depot and Support.com carried out the fake malware scanning process from 2009 to November 2016 when a report by CBS subsidiary KIRO 7 showed the practice, despite knowing for years That PC Health Check fakes produces reports about malware and viruses and despite employee complaints about the program.
In an example cited by the FTC, an OfficeMax employee in 2012 reportedly told management that they c "could not be justified in lying to a client or persuading himself that he lied to our store," to earn a few extra dollars. "
If all of this was not already harmful enough, the complaint stated that Office Depot had communicated its dealings in 2013. No PC Health Check sweep should be performed after repairs, explicitly stating that the" tool "was an issue In other words, it obviously knew that its program could put some red warning signs on repeated production. The same assessments after waiting for computers.
Office Depot pays $ 25 million, and Support.com pays another $ 10 million to settle with the FTC. This is the money that, according to the agency, wants to repay victims of the fraudulent malware. Office Depot did not respond immediately to a request.
FTC chairman Joe Simons said in a statement that "the case should send a strong message to companies that they face harsh consequences in tricking consumers into buying expensive services You may not need it. "We certainly hope so.
[Federal Trade Commission]