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Minnesota files lawsuit, issues warning over tech support scam

ST. PAUL—A Bloomington-based company is the subject of a consumer protection lawsuit filed by the state's attorney general's office for allegedly engaging in a "tech support" scam that used pop-up windows to mislead the public into believing their computers were affected by viruses or malware.

The lawsuit against Teknicians alleges once computer owners were hit with the pop-up window, the company convinced the owners to pay up-front payments of up to $300 to fix their computer. The state believes the scam started as early as 2014.

When responding to the pop-ups from Teknicians (which sometimes falsely presented itself as affiliated with Microsoft or Netgear), the attorney general's office said, the company gained remote access to their computer and misrepresented that the company was running "diagnostic tests," then further misled the person into believing that their computer was seriously compromised by viruses and malware that could render their system inoperable or compromise their data.

Attorney General Lori Swanson, on the heels of this lawsuit, is warning the public against this and other similar scams.

"People should be on guard against tech support scams that use fear tactics to convince them to pay hundreds of dollars to remove nonexistent viruses or malware," Swanson said.