An infamous scammer that tricked thousands of Microsoft customers into paying for free anti-virus software has been handed a suspended sentence.
Mohammed Khalid Jamil, a 34-year-old man from Luton, was given a four-month sentence as well as almost £25,000 in fines, compensation and court costs for his part in the Microsoft scam.
"We believe it may be the first ever successful prosecution of someone involved in the Microsoft scam in the UK," said Lord Toby Harris, chairman of the National Trading Standards Board that includes the National Trading Standards e-crime team. “It's an important turning point for UK consumers who have been plagued by this scam, or variants of it, for several years. Many have succumbed to it, parting with significant sums of money, their computers have been compromised and their personal details have been put at risk."
Jamil set up a company called SmartSupportGuys and then hired call centre workers in India to call British citizens claiming to be “Microsoft Certified” engineers. Targets would then be duped into offering remote access to home computers that are then made less secure by the scammer at which point they would offer to fix the problem – for a price.
The software, which is available for free through Microsoft’s website, was sold to targets for anything between £35 and £150. As a result of this Jamil will pay £5,665 compensation to victims of the scheme, a £5,000 fine and £13,929 in prosecution costs and his jail term will be suspended for 12 months.
"Now that one of the many individuals who've been operating this scam has been brought to justice, it's a stark warning to anyone else still doing it that they can be caught and will be prosecuted,” Lord Harris added.