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  1. Operating through a call center in India, three men used a string of companies to bilk Americans of millions of dollars by sending them pop-up ads that claim their computers are infected, the FTC claims in court. Since at least 2013, defendants have bilked millions of dollars from consumers throughout the United States. In carrying out their scheme, defendants employ pop-up ads that warn consumers that their computers have been hacked, infected, or otherwise compromised, and are in immediate need of computer security or technical support service. The pop-ups advise consumers to call a toll-free number to obtain that service, and mislead consumers into believing that they are contacting technical support providers affiliated with Microsoft, Apple, or other well-known companies. The scheme is known as "browser hijacking" because the pop-ups are designed so that users are unable to navigate or close them, leading them to think there is a serious issue with their computer. The simple scheme tells computer users their computers are infected with a virus and the defendants can fix it, for money.