Pickaway News Journal

Sun, Aug 20, 2017

AG sues telemarketer for computer virus scam

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Mike DeWine

COLUMBUS--Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced a lawsuit against a telemarketer accused of tricking consumers into thinking their computers were infected with a virus in order to take their money. Dozens of consumers across Ohio are believed to have been affected.

According to the lawsuit, Prime Technologies LLC and operator Linda Brown Massey, of Greenwood, South Carolina, contacted consumers, told them their computers had been hacked and were infected with a virus from Russia or Nigeria, and charged them anywhere from $200 to more than $15,000 to remove the virus and receive technical support.

After consumers paid, the defendants allegedly failed to provide promised services and instead installed defective malware protection and faulty anti-virus programs, causing some consumers to pay other companies to remove the faulty software.

"Our goal is to protect Ohioans and to hold con artists accountable," DeWine said. "When someone calls you unexpectedly and tells you your computer is infected with a virus, it's almost always a scam."

The Attorney General's lawsuit, filed in Franklin County Common Pleas Court, accuses Prime Technologies LLC and Linda Brown Massey of multiple violations of Ohio's Consumer Sales Practices Act and Telephone Solicitation Sales Act, including failure to deliver, misrepresentation, making false or misleading statements to induce payment, and failing to register as a telephone solicitor in Ohio.

In the lawsuit, DeWine seeks reimbursement for consumers, an injunction to stop violations of Ohio consumer protection laws, and civil penalties.

Massey also has been indicted in federal court in connection with the scheme.

Consumers who suspect an unfair sales practice or scam should contact the Ohio Attorney General's Office at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov or 800-282-0515.

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