The scam is simple. Avast Antivirus has developed a strong level of trust over the years with millions of computer users throughout the world. According to Avast’s website, they have “more than 230 million active users worldwide.” That is a huge user-base, and a great foundation to build a sustainable business model on through the use of trustworthy business practices. Unfortunately, something has gone very wrong with Avast Software, and they have chosen to use bogus sales tactics to get money out of their established customer base.
A toll free phone number is listed on Avast’s website, touting “Free 24×7 Phone Support”. For years, customers that have called that number have been offered over-priced “support” or “service” contracts for fixing so-called “problems” that the tech on the other end of the line supposedly finds with the customer’s computer. A common price these techs seem to try to get out of people is $179. If they think they can get more, that price may be higher. If a customer is hesitant, they will often drop the price just to get something out of that customer.
This would not be much of an issue if they were actually offering REAL SERVICES to fix REAL PROBLEMS. Unfortunately, the “problems” that these so-called technicians discover on the customer’s computer are in many cases not problems at all. For example, they may claim: “Wow, there are way too many temp files on your computer! This is a major issue!” In reality, that is a rather innocuous issue, and certainly doesn’t warrant a $179 service contract. In other cases, these techs will simply put on a show using smoke and mirrors, claiming that major issues exist where there are in fact none. One common method is to pull up the “Event Log” within Windows, and begin showing an unsuspecting customer all the “Errors” in this event log report. The thing is, just about EVERY computer will show a certain amount of “Errors” in this event log, and in many cases this does not indicate any problem whatsoever with the computer. There have been cases of customers calling Avast’s support number with a brand new computer with no issues or a cleanly installed operating system, that these “techs” still manage to magically find all manner of major “problems” that warrant an expensive Avast service contract to fix.
It’s a fraud. It’s a scam. There is no sugar coating this fact. Avast Software is willfully and knowingly taking advantage of customers that call their “Support Line”.
The FTC describes similar scams in the following two links:
Avast has the luxury of sitting back and waiting for unsuspecting customers to dial their “support” line, rather than having to cold call customers. What is so bizarre is that Avast s.r.o has a legit antivirus product, but has chosen to engage in high-pressure sales pitches utilizing scare tactics to part customers with their money through the sales of unnecessary service contracts. In the words of a widely-read security blogger: “I can’t understand why a company like this would risk its reputation by partnering with a support organization whose sales tactics are practically indistinguishable from those employed by peddlers of fake antivirus software or “scareware.”” See more about this in the “A Track Record of Fraud” section of this website.