FBI reported arrest two suspects, Romana Leyva and Ariful Haque, who lured their victims to fake tech support sites and tricked into paying for their “services.” According to the investigation, fraudsters deceived more than 7,500 people (most of whom were elderly people who did not have technical knowledge) and earned more than $ 10,000,000 on this.
Fraudsters acted according to the classical scheme: they managed malicious sites with fake pop-ups that warned visitors about security problems, thereby intimidating victims and making them believe that their computers were infected with malware or had other problems. It was recommended that the victims of the scam urgently call the technical support number, whose operators tricked the callers into paying for unnecessary “repairs” and “help”. The cost of such services, disguised as a one-time, annual or lifetime technical support, ranged from several hundred to several thousand US dollars.
Law enforcers report that some victims turned out to be cheated even twice. The fact is that sometimes, after a while, the scammers called back to the victims and claimed that the technical support company with which the victims concluded an agreement ceased to exist. Fraudsters offered to return the money to the victims, but soon they called back again and said that they had sent too much due to a typo (that is, for example, they transferred $ 4,500 instead of $ 450). Then they asked the victims to return the difference in gift cards to them.
Closing indictment states that the fraudulent scheme of Leiva and Hack operated from March 2015 to December 2018. The suspects founded special companies through which they passed their income and fraudulent payments, and also had a number of accomplices involved in the same activity.
Both suspects were charged with fraud using electronic means of communication, as well as conspiracy to commit such fraud. The maximum sentence on these charges is up to 20 years in prison.