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 newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags governmentsecurityregulationlegalU.S. Federal Trade CommissionCivil lawsuitsMarc D'SouzaMaurice D'Souza

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


James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >


Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >

Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?