Technology giant Microsoft has sued an Indian company along with several other entities alleging that they misused its name and registered trademarks while providing fraudulent technical support services to unsuspecting consumers.
Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit filed a civil lawsuit earlier this month in federal court in the Central District of California for unfair and deceptive business practices and trademark infringement against C-Cubed Solutions, which is a “private business company formed under the laws of India”, Omnitech Support based in California and Florida-based Anytime Techies along with two other individuals.
According to the lawsuit, C-Cubed is a “private company associated under the laws of India.” Its directors include Marc Haberman, Rachel Eilat Haberman and Jay Wurzberger.
C-Cubed is a subsidiary of California-based Customer Focus Services (CFS) and “operates the mail server by which CFS’ fraudulent technical support businesses communicate with customers,” according to the lawsuit.
Microsoft is demanding a jury trial and seeking permanent injunction to restrain and enjoin the defendants from infringement of Microsoft’s registered trademarks and from directly or indirectly engaging in false advertising or promotions regarding the quality or security of Microsoft software.
The technology giant alleged in the lawsuit that the defendants used and misused the Microsoft name and its registered trademarks without authorisation in connection with the provision of phony technical support services.
The defendants used the Microsoft trademarks to enhance their credentials and confuse customers about their affiliation with Microsoft, the lawsuit alleges.
They then used their enhanced credibility to convince consumers that their personal computers are infected with malware in order to sell them unnecessary technical support and security services to clean their computers.
In some instances, the defendants actually created security issues for consumers by gaining access to their computers and stealing information stored on them, the lawsuit alleges.
“Many of these technical support companies are able to gain victims’ trust by claiming they work for Microsoft, are a Microsoft Certified Partner or somehow affiliated with Microsoft,” Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit Senior Attorney Courtney Gregoire said in a blog post
“In some instances, once the tech scammer gains remote access to a consumer’s computer, they will use scare tactics – telling the consumer that if they do not pay for support services they will lose all of their files, suffer a computer crash, or risk the leak of personal identifiable information,” Gregoire said.
Since May 2014, Microsoft has received over 65,000 customer complaints regarding fraudulent tech support scams.
It said tech support scammers do not discriminate and will go after anyone and not surprisingly senior citizens have been among the most vulnerable.