CHICAGO – A federal judge issued a restraining order and a freeze of assets against a
Boynton Beach, Florida, tech support group for allegedly tricking consumers into using its services.
Robert Blakey of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois took the actions at the request of the Federal Trade
Commission (FTC) and State of Florida against Big Dog Solutions, a tech company
based in Boynton Beach, which also conducts business as Help Desk National and
Help Desk Global.
According to the
plaintiffs, the defendants committed a breach of the FTC Act, the Telemarketing
Sales Rule and the Florida Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act. In their
request, they sought to put a halt to the allegedly illegal practices of the defendants. They
also aim to collect refunds for individuals and businesses that they allege fell victim to the fraudulent scheme.
Apart from the
Florida-based tech group, the case also named the following as defendants: PC
Help Desk US LLC (doing business as Help Desk National and Help Desk Global);
Inbound Call Specialist LLC; BlackOpteck CE Inc.; 9138242 Canada Corporation;
Digital Growth Properties LLC; Christopher J. Costanza (doing business as CJM
Consulting LLC); Suzanne W. Harris; Muzaffar Abbas; Gary Oberman; Donald
Dolphin; and Justin Powers.
Jessica Rich, the
director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer
Protection, expressed her gratitude to the other organizations and the courts
for their assistance in stopping the allegedly illegal activities inflicting harm on consumers.
She said the accused companies’ tactics of misrepresenting themselves as
employees of widely respected brands had given them the legitimacy to lure consumers
into their schemes. Rich noted that the cooperation among the agencies boosted
their chances of putting an end to such practices.
like these use incredibly deceptive tactics that make consumers think they are
receiving warnings from legitimate technology companies,” Rich said, according to an FTC
press release. She further said, “We are proud to work with the Florida
Attorney General’s Office to put an end to these fraudulent practices.”
alleged telemarketing scheme of the defendants aims to deceive consumers into
buying computer security software or using technical support services from
the accused companies, the plaintiffs claim. The products and services are offered to supposedly
address the issues in their computers irrespective of the kind of problems or
if an issue actually exists, the plaintiffs allege.
carry out their plans, the defendants tell the consumers that their computers
are infected, corrupted or hacked, the suit alleges. They used pop-up messages to alert the
consumers of a “problem” in their computers, and using the same format, they instruct
the consumers to quickly contact a toll-free number to avail themselves of technical
support to resolve the issue, the suit claims.
The suit says the companies convince the clients of their authority and expertise by claiming that they
work for big companies such as Microsoft and Apple. According to court
documents, the majority of these victims are senior citizens, and dating back to
January 2015, the defendants have managed to collect millions of dollars from