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Microsoft files lawsuit against scammers

California investors, entrepreneurs and business owners may be interested in a potentially landmark case involving Microsoft. On Dec. 18, the well-known company filed a lawsuit against Omnitech Support and other companies, alleging trademark infringement and deceptive business practices. The lawsuit claims scammers falsely presented themselves as Microsoft tech support in an attempt to infect consumers' computers with malware.

Microsoft clams that these types of scams cost U.S. consumers approximately $1.5 billon every year. A specialized unit working for Microsoft purports that investigations reveal the defendants in the suit contacted consumers, claiming their computer was infected with a virus and offering to repair the device for a fixed fee. Omnitech Support, a subsidiary of Customer Focus Services, is accused of misusing Microsoft's brand name, services and trademarks in an attempt to defraud unsuspecting customers. According to the suit, some consumers' personal credit information was exposed.

Microsoft purportedly enlisted investigators to contact the parties named as defendants in the suit. The investigators reportedly used computers that were free of malware yet were informed that their devices were infected with a virus. The plaintiff in this case maintains that the defendants used the enhanced credibility associated with the Microsoft brand as a means to commit these fraudulent services. It was not immediately clear whether the named defendants issued any public responses to the allegations.

Businesses that have been victimized by trademark infringement typically benefit from consulting a lawyer. Legal counsel might, in some cases, enlist investigative resources to help bolster viable civil claims. The lawyer may assist businesses obtain the necessary protections for safeguarding their brand and long-term interests from stealthy offenders.

Source: CNET, "Microsoft combats tech support scammers with lawsuit", Lance Whitney, December 19, 2014

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