A 24-year-old Charlotte man admitted he helped dupe hundreds of U.S. residents into paying money to clean non-existent malware from their suddenly frozen computers, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Bishap Mittal, 24, admitted in U.S. District Court in Charlotte to being part of a “tech support scam” that placed pop-up ads on victims’ computers that froze their screens. Mittal pled guilty to conspiracy to access a protected computer and faces up to five years in prison.
When victims called a number in the ad for help, scammers at a call center in India “used remote access tools to gain control of the victims’ computers,” according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office news release.
Callers were told their computers had malware or viruses. They paid $200 to $2,400 to get rid of the problem.
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Mittal and unnamed co-conspirators defrauded victims out of at least $3 million, court records show. Mittal is free pending his sentencing, which has not been set.
U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray announced an Elder Justice Initiative this month that aims to put more scammers of older adults behind bars. Some of Mittal’s victims were older adults, prosecutors said.