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FTC charges firms with deception on computers

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal regulators have charged 14 firms and 17 people with impersonating major companies to trick consumers into thinking their computers were plagued by viruses so they could charge hundreds to fix the problems.

The Federal Trade Commission said Wednesday the action was part of a new international crackdown on such tech-support scams. The agency says a federal judge in New York City has issued an order halting six alleged scams and freezing their assets.

The FTC says the telemarketing schemes mostly operate from India and target English-speaking consumers in the U.S., Britain and other countries.

The agency says the telemarketers claimed they worked for companies such as Microsoft and Dell, saying they had detected a virus or malware. They offered to fix the problems remotely for $49 to $450.

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