Irving Man Made Millions Scaring Elderly Into Computer Fixes They Didn't Need, State Alleges

The state filed suit this week against an Irving man and his California partner, accusing them of scamming elderly victims seeking computer repairs out of millions using pop-up ads and scare tactics.Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Friday that the people and companies involved had been served a temporary restraining order halting their operations and freezing their assets.“I’m pleased that my office’s lawsuit shut down the operators of a major nationwide tech support scam so they are no longer able to take advantage of vulnerable Texans,” Paxton said. The state's lawsuit, filed Wednesday, alleges that since at least 2015 Irving resident Harneet Oberoi and California resident Sahil Miglani jointly ran a nationwide scam through their companies based out of Texas and Delaware, respectively.The state says Oberoi and Miglani used Latitude Solutions & Consulting and We Brand Better LLC to scam “vulnerable or technologically unsophisticated” individuals into buying unnecessary computer repairs. They then allegedly transferred the money into foreign bank accounts, mainly in India, where both Oberoi and Miglani are citizens.The process of getting consumers to pay for those repairs would usually begin with deceptive pop-up ads, the lawsuit alleged. The pop-ups would appear to be from the computer or browser and falsely alert consumers to a virus or other vulnerability on their device, while often simultaneously freezing the device.These ads would include a toll-free number that connected victims to telemarketers employed by the defendants, at which point a scare tactic-based sales pitch would begin, according to the lawsuit.Once telemarketers convinced victims there was a serious problem with the computer, they would persuade consumers to give them remote access to their computers. Then, telemarketers would run so-called diagnostic tests to convince victims their computer had been corrupted.Methods to do so allegedly included running standard tools that victims were not familiar with and showing false “evidence” that something was wrong with their devices when everything was running properly.In order to gain the victims' trust, the state said, the companies would claim to be affiliated with well-known tech corporations including Microsoft, Apple or Dell. Finally, telemarketers would charge victims for fake repairs costing $100 to $1,000.Company representatives would then “fix” the computer, but would sometimes “actually leave the consumer's computer in a worse condition than it started,” the lawsuit said. They would often re-victimize individuals using the same scam or a fraudulent refund.Paxton’s office secured the temporary restraining order on Oberoi and Miglani Wednesday after arguing that the two legal U.S. residents would likely flee to India if they had prior notice of the lawsuit.A Travis County District judge scheduled a temporary injunction hearing in the case for March 13.  Continue reading...

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