FTC mails out refund checks for buyers of scareware

The defendants' scans falsely told computer owners their PCs had viruses, spyware or illegal pornography, the FTC says

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has begun to mail refund checks to computer owners who purchased so-called scareware from vendors who allegedly used deceptive advertising to trick customers into buying the software to fix their supposedly infected computers.

About 320,000 customers will receive refund checks, averaging US$20, the FTC said in a press release. The exact amount of the checks will be based on the amount of individual loss.

In December 2008, FTC filed a complaint in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland against a group of businesses selling software programs with names such as Winfixer, Drive Cleaner, and XP Antivirus. The software, with a price of $39.95 or more, falsely claimed that scans had detected viruses, spyware and illegal pornography on consumers' computers, the FTC said. The defendants sold more than 1 million software products, the FTC said.

In January, defendant Marc D'Souza, his father, Maurice D'Souza, and other defendants agreed to pay $8.2 million in a settlement with the FTC.

The agency's settlement administrator, Epiq Systems, began mailing the refund money from that settlement last week. Consumers who receive checks must cash them within 60 days.

Consumers who believe they are entitled to a refund or have questions may visit FTC.gov/refunds for more information

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Maurice D'SouzaMarc D'SouzaU.S. Federal Trade CommissionregulationsecurityCivil lawsuitslegalgovernment

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?