Microsoft Takes Aim at Phony Tech Support Scheme Operator in Civil Suit

A complaint filed last Friday claims that an Indiana man and his company have defrauded Microsoft software users and caused the company to expend thousands of dollars investigating a fake tech support scheme. The lawsuit seeks relief from alleged violations of the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act, the Telemarketing Sales Rule, as well as several Lanham Act trademark infringement claims.

The complaint explains that Solution Hat LLC, doing business as Think Global, and its sole member Saurabh Seth (together, Solution Hat) orchestrated the scheme to con unwitting Microsoft users into purchasing unnecessary security services to protect from the spyware or malware ostensibly threatening their computers. Microsoft asserts that Solution Hat uses pop up and full-page advertisements to get users’ attention before directing them to “call Microsoft” at the defendants’ toll-free number. 

In addition, Solution Hat’s pop ups reportedly use “Microsoft’s well-known Windows flag logo, among other Microsoft trademarks, lending credibility to the alarming but false statements they contain.” Over 100 customers have complained about Solution Hat through Microsoft’s technical support scam reporting tool, the complaint says.

It further explains that Microsoft personnel investigated the matter by calling the number advertised and speaking to an agent who answered the phone as “Windows Support.” According to the complaint, Solution Hat agent connected remotely to the investigator’s computer and falsely explained that the computer was infected with malware. To fix the purported problem, the agent advised that the computer would need two different products, including one that cost $999.

The plaintiff seeks for relief from the fraudulent scheme, which it says harms the public, threatens Microsoft’s brand and reputation, and has caused the company to expend time and resources investigating.

Microsoft is represented by Barnes & Thornburg LLP and Davis Wright Tremaine LLP.