Starting this week, more than 300,000 consumers who were victims of a "scareware" scam will receive refunds resulting from Federal Trade Commission settlements with Innovative Marketing and other parties involved in the scheme. Several defendants agreed to surrender more than $8 million total in ill-gotten gains to settle FTC charges that they used deceptive ads to trick consumers into thinking their computers were infected with viruses or spyware, and then sold them software programs such as Winfixer, Drive Cleaner, and XP Antivirus to "fix" their non-existent problem.
Consumers who receive checks must cash them within 60 days. 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.
Approximately 320,000 checks will be mailed by the FTC's settlement administrator, Epiq Systems. Consumers who believe they are entitled to a refund or have questions may call the settlement administrator toll free at 1-877-853-3541 or visit www.FTC.gov/refunds for more information.
The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC's online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC's Web site provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.