The two men are said to have used an ancient but still popular form of fraud, using malicious websites to pop up ads, deceiving victims that their computers were infected with viruses, malware, advertising software, etc., and the only solution was to dial false technical support numbers. Once the victim makes such a call, the liar will defraud the so-called maintenance service charge. These fees are paid to swindlers in the form of annual, lifetime or lump sum payments, ranging from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars.
Court documents show that sometimes victims are deceived twice. After paying the initial fee, the fraudsters called the victim and claimed that the original technology support company had closed down and could provide a refund to the victim. However, the fraudster later claimed that the refund process had been wrong and that the refund had been overpaid. The cheater then asked the victim to send out a gift card to compensate for the difference. Similar "overpayment" tactics are common in home office, car rental and house-buying scams. Of the more than 7,500 victims, the vast majority are older users who do not realize they have been cheated.