The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is sending reimbursement checks to more than 300,000 people victimized by a rogue antivirus scam.
According to the FTC, the checks are the result of the settlement between the agency and several defendants named in a complaint the FTC filed in 2008. As part of the scheme, Innovative Marketing and the other defendants used deceptive ads to trick customers into believing their computers were infected with viruses or spyware in order to sell them rogue antivirus products such as Winfixer and Drive Cleaner, the FTC said.
Due to fake antivirus scans that made it appear as though malware had infected their PCs, victims were duped into buying bogus security software for $40 to $60. A settlement was ultimately reached in the case for more than $8 million.
“Consumers who receive checks must cash them within 60 days,” according to the FTC. “The average amount of the checks will be $20, however the exact amounts will be based on the amount of individual loss. The FTC never requires consumers to pay money or provide information before redress checks can be cashed.”
The rogue antivirus industry has declined somewhat this year, possibly due in part to crackdowns by authorities. In June for example, the FBI, U.S. Department of Justice and foreign police agencies made arrests and seized several computers as part of Operation Trident Tribunal, which broke up two operations accused of cumulatively causing more than $74 million in losses through the sale of bogus security software.
Consumers who believe they are entitled to a refund tied to the settlement in the Innovative Marketing case or who have any questions about the settlement may call 1-877-853-3541 or visit www.FTC.gov/refunds for more information.