The operators of a “scareware” scam have been ordered to pay US$8 million to settle US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges.
Seven defendants were charged with running the scam, which conned over one million victims to pay between US$40 and $60 for a products such as Winfixer, Drive Cleaner and Antivirus XP.
Like many scareware tactics, the operation relied on “technologically sophisticated” web ads which falsely claimed to find viruses, spyware and illegal pornography on victims’ PCs.
The alleged heads of the scam were, Marc D’Souza and his father, Maurice D’Souza.
The pair had kept their distance from the actual scam, but were alleged to have profited from it.
The duo have been fined a total of US$8.2 million, which the FTC said would be used to reimburse victims. The FTC banned the younger D’Souza from making deceptive claims about computer security software, among other constraints he will face.