There are few tasks more tiresome than getting a new printer properly set up. Somehow, it never works on the first try, no matter the make or model. The device will probably function for three tries and then break down again. It is a universal frustration. But there are a few people who have experienced more lasting hardship than you’d expect while setting up their printer. Scammers have for years been preying on the unsuspecting, desperate people who need to download setup software for their new printer. And it’s a big problem for Canon, one of the world’s biggest printer brands, in particular.
Gizmodo has found several fake websites run by scammers who claim to offer legit Canon printer drivers, a type of software that allows your operating system to control a specific piece of hardware. Gizmodo discovered the fake websites by filing a FOIA request with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for consumer complaints about Canon. FTC Complaints about Robinhood, Binance, AirBnb, Venmo, and Tinder have revealed similar patterns in the problems users face when using these internet companies’ services.
The Canon scam is specific. The complaints are filled with tales of people who were simply trying to find a Canon driver for their printers. The hapless users found themselves on a number of different sites where the fake drivers would fail to download. After that, a chat box would appear and “customer service” would offer to diagnose the problem. Sometimes, the scammers would simply ask for money to fix the imaginary problem. Other times, the scammers would lure the unsuspecting victims into handing over remote access to their computers.
There are also phone numbers on many of the sites that connect users with scammers who try to sell “support” packages while actually just stealing money.
The fake websites are fairly sophisticated and appear high in Google search results. The problem with Canon’s devices appears to be widespread enough that an online cottage industry of theft can thrive. That many people are struggling to set up their printers.
Some of the fake Canon websites:
Again, these are all scam websites, and you shouldn’t visit them. But we’re publishing the list of them here because it’s important to see just how similar these domains are to the real thing.
One of the problems that allows Canon users to get scammed is that the company’s official website doesn’t always work. In fact, while trying to load usa.canon.com, a legitimate site, Gizmodo encountered an unexplained error. This, of course, leads people to try other sites they find through Google.
Canon did not respond to multiple requests for comment, and it’s unclear the company understands just how prolific these scammers are. But there’s one agency that knows: The FTC is sitting on hundreds of complaints from users who were scammed while trying to download Canon printer drivers. Gizmodo obtained complaints from 2021 and is publishing 21 of them below to help others avoid scams. [Update: Canon finally emailed us a link to a statement published online.]
Unfortunately, Gizmodo is unable to verify the claims made in the FTC complaints because all identifying information has been redacted by the FTC. But the stories are remarkably similar and show a trail of fraud that continues to this day. Needless to say, make sure you’re actually visiting Canon’s official website before downloading anything. And if you think you’re talking to customer support and they ask to remotely view your computer, don’t do it.
“This caller wouldn’t identify themselves but said I had just been scammed...”
I was on Canon’s website to troubleshoot printer installation and called what I thought was their support line. I gave them remote access to my computer and they said I had lots of trojans in there and they would give me tech support instead of McAfee for a one-time fee of $499 so I gave my credit card details over the phone. They said their customer number was [redacted] and installed on my computer a file of that name, something called CCleaner and ATF-Cleaner. But I started to get suspicious and I ended the call.
I then received a call from [redacted] asking if I had just talked to a so-called tech support person and asking if I had given my credit card details. I said yes and asked who was calling. This caller wouldn’t identify themselves but said I had just been scammed and I should cancel my credit card, so I did that.
I now keep getting calls and voicemails now from so-called United IT (the scammers) from these two numbers: 800-596-1598 and 614-741-1613.
“They charged my $499.99 for a 7 year protection plan...”
I entered the web address (ij.start.cannon) for downloading a new Canon printer and got redirected to a similar url (ijstartcanon.com). I just moved and have been busy stressed so even though I asked a lot of questions and Garry did show me the msassistance.us website, I got ensnared in the fear that my computer had been hacked and I needed immediate assistance and went along with it. I gave them access to my computer, they set up my Canon printer and installed their Network Privacy Shield icon on Chrome. I’m taking my computer to a trusted service provider and be sure it’s okay. I’m not sure if they stole my identity but my sense is that they’re just trying to sell a product I didn’t need. They charged my $499.99 for a 7 year protection plan. Yes, I feel really stupid but there it is. I got scammed. I’m disputing the charge via my credit card. The customer support numbers they gave me are 844-600-0806 and 844-600-0801.
“I shut it down because I got a bad feeling...”
While trying to download the drivers from
My new printer this over took cannons weblink and they Goto to my computer.
This is what I typed in: cannon.comijsetup
This it what took over: http:canon-com-ijsetup.com
I shut it down because I got a bad feeling. Apple confirmed it sounded like a scam abs asked me to report it.
Someone needs to shut them down.
“I immediately received a call and was instructed to download the Ultraviewer application.”
I was looking for a solution to a printer issue and Google provided a possible solution at https:www.canonprintersupportpro.us. While reading, a chat window appeared. Stephen tried to help and offered to open a trouble ticket. He asked for my name and cell number. I immediately received a call and was instructed to download the Ultraviewer application. The application enabled remote connectivity. I carefully watched the individual as he attempted to troubleshoot. However, I became uncomfortable when they were looking in areas that did not pertain to the printer or printer applications. At that time, I told the caller that I didn’t feel comfortable with where they were looking. I ended the call, uninstalled the Ultraviewer application, disconnected my computer from the internet and began a scan. The individual was in my computer for about 15 minutes.
“I am filled with so much anxiety and disappointment”
I was trying to set up my new printer and I used the email provided for installation.
But I must have forgot to add a period or a letter so I was sent to a fake Canon site. They had a chat box. I explained in the chat box that I needed help. They said a person would call me and they did. The guy claimed to be an employee from Canon. He asked for access to my computer in order to gain control of my screen to help me. This is where I should have said no but I didn’t. He gave me a code, I put it my computer, he gained access. He pulled up a couple things, downloaded programs that I did not recognize then he said I can’t fix the problem, you will need a technician and that will cost you $100. I said no, he hung up. I called him back, he answered, when he heard it was me he hung up again. He went in and got my IP address. I am filled with so much anxiety and disappointment how could this happen to me.
The number he called from was [redacted] my phone said he called from Oak Forrest, IL.
“He said he would fix it for $100.”
I was installing a new Canon printer. When I started typing the website I was directed to in the instructions (ij.start.canon) into my chrome browser address at the top I saw a pop up below with that name. Rather than completing the typing, I clicked on that. This took me to the bogus website that looked like Canon. I did not notice it was wrong.
I entered my printer info and it directed me to download the driver. That attempt got a fatal error. There was an on line chat help box and I told them my issue. They had their tech call me. I then foolishly gave him access to my computer. He used the program logmein. He ran some software and I could see info scrolling. Then he told me my computer was infected and that was why I could not install any printer driver. He said he would fix it for $100. I declined and, he tried to persuade me but I was very hesitant (albeit a little too late) then we ended the call amicably.
A few minutes later, after some searching on line, I realized I had been scammed.
“The gentlemen then asked us to use the quick access app on our Windows computer to share the screen with him.”
We were following the instructions to install the drivers for a new Canon printer and ended up on the scam site. It ran what now appears to be a false attempt to install and then gave us a fatal error message and instructed us to call a phone number. The gentlemen then asked us to use the quick access app on our windows computer to share the screen with him. We did and he ran some scan saying he was trying to trying to locate the scam error message we had received. Whatever scam he ran showed a 3499 Trojans are found message and then he went on to tell us that our IP address was unprotected and that we needed to pay him $200 to have a certified MS technician fix the problem and protect our computer. This is when we realized we were in trouble. I do not know if he got access to anything in the computer or not, or if it was just a scam to get us to pay him.
“Then he told me it would cost $99.99 to remove. I thought it was Canon so I said yes.”
I typed cannon instead of canon (should have been ij.start.canon) to set up my printer. At the bogus site it said there was a critical error when downloading the printer driver. A text message box popped up, I reported the problem and was told a tech would call. Jay Anderson called and told me there was something like an IP bot that had to be removed, I gave him remote control of my laptop, he showed me screens that seemed to back up what he said. Then he told me it would cost $99.99 to remove. I thought it was Canon so I said yes. More screens showed that it may have been doing something, but he did download the driver I needed. When I went to pay, my credit card was declined. He became desperate at this point insisting that I contact my bank. At this point I became suspicious. I told him he would have to release control of my computer before I would go to the bank website to check the payment. He released the computer I did try to make a payment thinking I had to pay for services but I couldn’t get them to accept the charge. He was even more desperate until I got angry and he said he would call back the following day and I should convince the bank to pay in the meantime. Instead I called Canon customer service and found out about the scam site that I had been at. When Anderson called back I told him I found out it was a scam and hung up. I had to block the number as he kept calling back. Then another number did the same thing, it may be related but I'm not sure because I didn’t answer: 614-664-6667. I can’t prove it but I doubt there were any bots on my laptop, I have Norton antivirus and do regular scans. This is awful, people have a tendency to type cannon just out of habit, they are taking advantage of that. I hope you can shut them down.
“I was connected with a man who said he could fix it if I let him remote in.”
I couldn’t get my new printer to install. It said fatal error, code (a bunch of numbers) contact support..so I did. It started as a chat bubble and they immediately directed me to a number to call tech support. I was connected with a man who said he could fix it if I let him remote in. Through askdesk, I allowed it. He showed me that my drivers were all screwed up and that he and his buddy would do both computers and would get my printer installed in no time. Offered 3 options 100, 300 and $500 for the lifetime tech support which included an antivirus.... he took my credit card number. ...which btw, I canceled in time....He said he would be an hour or so, so I should go about my business. I watched him on and off and happen to see ad ware. At the same time my kid got hurt and it took me away from everything because she was bleeding....so then he called back and was like ok all done and then was trying to push me for their banking protection plan....I was omg really? And hung up. I had an IT professional wipe my computers as soon as I was able. He found malware , adware, and some random other things I don’t remember. And these guys keep calling to make sure my printers working.....the number they call from is in Diamondale, MI.
“My browser auto-corrected to ij.start.cannon...”
I was trying to setup my printer with drivers from the official website. When I typed ij.start.canon my browser auto-corrected to ij.start.cannon which then directed me to the website entered above. The drivers on the site wouldn’t install and their online customer support setup a call. When they called, they used Support-LogmeinRescue to gain access to my computer and said I had an IP conflict or Botnet issue and I needed to have it resolved before I could add the printer. It seemed strange on the phone, so I ended the call and then realized it was a fake site.
“I said no, and he became aggressive.”
Accidentally went to the wrong website to download a driver for my new Canon printer (extra n in Canon). I clicked Download Driver and the website said that the download failed and provided a chat link where I explained my problem. The person on the other end had technical assistance call me. The man on the phone told me my computer was infected and wanted me to pay him to clean it up. I said no and he became aggressive. I hung up the phone and turned off my computer.
“After I hung up, my husband realized I had typed the web address incorrectly.”
I tried to download my new Canon printer driver at ij.start.canon.com. I accidentally typed ijstartcanon.com. When I typed in my printer and hit enter, a page came up saying i had a Fatal Error C0000022 call tech support. I then clicked on chat. I chatted with Caroline who said a global expert technician would call me in 5-10 minutes to help me. They called me in about 15 minutes from 442032390343. It said London England, United Kingdom. The man was difficult to understand. He said my IP address has an infection. I asked what to do and he said he could transfer me to a department to help me but it would cost money. I said this is a work computer so I will just call my IT department. After I hung up, my husband realized I had typed the web address incorrectly. I am concerned they now have access to my work info as well as my personal info as I was talking to them on my personal cell phone.
“I’m worried that a remote access Trojan has been installed”
I was looking for customer support for a canon printer. I found a website through google that I didn’t notice wasn’t an actual canon site because of it’s name and verbiage and images. I clicked a little icon with a phone on it to try to get to customer support. It asked me to input my phone number for a call-back. I did, and someone called me. They sounded legit enough. Heavy Indian accent. But they asked for remote access to my desktop, by asking me to go to setpc.net, then input a 9-digit code, then install an app called RemotePCHD. I did, stupidly. Then they poked around for a bit, including asking me what is on my printer screen and such. Then they said they have diagnosed the problem and asked to transfer me to someone who would then try to fix the problem, and I would pay them $99.98 if they are able to fix it. I said no, that’s too expensive, at which point I asked them to end the RemotePC access, and they did. And I hung up. Now I’m worried that a remote access trojan has been installed.
“Initial website was letter for letter the same as the real site...”
Bought Canon wireless Printer Walmart. Installation instructions referred to specific site. Googled site, listed 2 or 3 options. Chose 2nd in list cause it looked more specific to download driversetup file. Logged on, downloaded file. Ran install and fatal error came up C000022. Screen prompt on error msg. ask for e-mail address and phone number and received call a few minutes later from Indian sounding gentleman named Robbie. Ask to start a remote session on my laptop. Downloaded a ZA executable file and went to command prompt and ran what he called a diagnostic dirs. Said he found a trojan that infected my computer and every device on my private wi-fi network. Then offered to fix it for varying term security options ranging from a yr. to lifetime if over 55 yrs. old and prices from 200 to 900 dollars. I declined his offer stating that if he was to act as my pc dr. that I wanted a second opinion. Initial website was letter for letter the same as the real site that I should have logged into, complete w Canon graphics etc.
“Once I looked closer, it was obvious the the font of the company was not the same...”
Trying to download a Canon printer. A fatal error message came up and offered Chat to fix. The chat person said someone would call me within 12 minutes. He immediately said I had probably downloaded some bad software and needed to access my computer to fix it. Then it all clicked. I said NO and then he said get someone else to fix it then and hung up. Once I looked closer, it was obvious the the font of the company was not the same and of course other small red flags.
Here is the website: http:ijstartcanonn.com
“As he spoke, he went to Coupon2Deal and installed that extension on my computer without my permission.”
I tried to go to the Canon website (ij.start.canon) and Google pulled up a web search instead of the site. I saw a website link that said IJ.Start.Cannon. I didn’t notice the difference in the spelling. The link went to https:ijstartcanonn.com. It asked for the printer model. I put it in. When I clicked download it pulled up a download screen, then went to a fatal error C0000022. I used the help chat. They got my telephone number, my email address and called me quickly after identifying my problem. When the tech called they asked me to allow them access to my computer as the C in the error code suggested it was a computer program. I logged into zoho, downloaded the app and the technician took over the mouse, went into Terminal (I’m a MAC user), and claimed I had 80 of my systems in sleep mode due to viruses. He claimed a antivirus wouldn’t take care of the 1500 viruses he knew I had and the reason the driver wasn’t downloaded was because of the viruses. He said he could clean my Mac for $129, which is less than a pro would charge. I said no. He said he could lower that to $115. As he spoke he went to Coupon2Deal and installed that extension on my computer without my permission. He did it very fast and closed the window. I asked if he’d just installed that on computer without my permission and he said no, he was just showing it to me and referenced the page that linked to the install page. I told him I didn’t want his services, I would try to handle it on my own. He said it was totally my choice. He ended the zoho. I installed Zoho, then turned off my internet connection. I went back through my history and saw that the Coupon2Deal extension had in fact been installed, so I uninstalled it. I checked what passwords I had saved. I still need to go through and change those.
“He wanted Target or AmEx cards and coached me how to load them up with $500 each.”
People at site above - sounded Indian - transferred me to David Lee in California. He said he needed to scan my computer for bad scanner drivers. He convinced me to load Team a Remote Desktop. He scanned my computer and I spent 3 hours on the phone with him. The next day the scan was complete but no solution. He asked for $99.95 to continue and reimburse if no fix within 4 hours. I gave him my CC information. After 4 hours he said he needed my help in getting the refund and presented me with text-based interface. When I typed in $99.95 as the refund amount it quickly changed to $1995 and was entered. He pretended to be shocked and said I had created a huge problem that could not be reversed. He claimed his finance dept was shut for the weekend and we needed to fix the problem. He had me open my banking site and pointed out that there was a credit of $1995 in my checking account. I felt responsible fit the problem and agreed to drive around town purchasing gift cards. He wanted Target or AmEx cards and coached me how to load them up with $500 each. My first stop was Winn Dixie. Luckily they have an extra step the purchaser needs to take to activate the cards. I overlooked this and David could not access them after I gave him the card numbers and access keys. Then I went to Target and bought $2000 more. These he was able to access and made purchases of some kind at Target stores in CA.
At this point I went back to check my bank account and discovered that the $1995 credit in my checking account came as an advance from my credit card. So I finally understood that I had been duped.
The gift cards from Winn Dixie have been frozen and I expect to get that $2000 back. So the cost of this lesson was $1995 plus the $19.95 fee.
“I clicked on first site that popped up...”
I purchased a new Canon printer. I typed the website to install instead of completing typing it out, I clicked on first site that popped up. Unfortunately, it was not the official Canon website but a scammer’s page. I did an online chat asking for assistance and typed my phone number in. They immediately called me. I allowed them remote access to my computer. They downloaded something called ultraviewer and typed event planner in my search bar to bring up suspicious viruses on my pc. They told me I had viruses and needed to add a firewall. They said I would need to pay a one time tech fee of $149.00. At that point, I hung up closed out of the screen. I did not give any payment or give any payment account information.
“After you agree, they have you install screensharing software and call you on your phone.”
These people have set up a technical support website at https:usa-canon-printer.support to trap those who have bought a Canon printer and are having problems. Within a minute of browsing, a chat window pops up with an agent asking to help. It all seems very legit. Shortly after a few troubleshooting questions to keep it seeming real, the agent will ask if you can share your screen. After you agree, they have you install screensharing software and call you on your phone. After they move around on your screen a little bit, checking just a few settings (and maybe doing more nefarious things in the background, who knows), they will say that the problem can be fixed if you let a technician deal with it remotely for 20-30 minutes, just sit back and relax. And it will cost $99. At this point I stopped, got off of the phone, and disabled the screensharing software.
“After he finished my payment I got suspicious because he restarted my computer...”
I bought a Canon printer and needed help setting it up to connect to the new printer. So I went online to Canon’s website and received an option to chat with a technician. The technician who called himself James asked me for my phone number to call me. Once he called me he said he needed access to my computer using Ultra View. One he gained access he told me I needed to pay for a anti virus system named Webroot Secure Everywhere. And asked me for my credit card number and three digit code on back. I payed for the service on the phone with him but I did call my credit card to stop payment and cancel card.
After he finished my payment I got suspicious because he restarted my computer where I had to type in my password again probably saving it to come in later. He was already in the system why restart it. That’s when I knew something was wrong. So I asked to speak with his manager and they hung up.
I immediately called Canon at 1-800-652-2666 and they informed me that they have Third party scammers illegally using their logo and creating websites to lure people on the internet. I’m disappointed in Canon because the site I typed in the internet to reach Canon official website site went to the scammers site.
“I thought I was on with Canon, and have done this before with Apple, so I let him”
I accidentally went to this website because it was one letter off from the Canon website I was supposed to go to so that I could download a drive for a photo scanner (piece of equipment). I attempted to download the drive and it said it failed and that I should call the phone number for help. When I called he said he was not sure why I was having this problem and he asked me to go to LogMeIn123.com so he could install the driver himself. I thought I was on with Canon, and have done this before with Apple, so I let him. He told me I had major infections on my computer and needed to have them fix it for $150. I then realized I was being scammed and promptly disconnected. I thankfully had not downloaded anything dangerous or performed any transaction.