The Federal Trade Commission’s trial win against On Point Global has made $102 million in refunds available to consumers who were harmed by a wide-ranging scheme that led them to pay money or hand over personal information to fake government websites. Consumers who were harmed must apply for redress payments by July 5, 2022.Consumers who were deceived by a wide-ranging scheme into handing over money or personal information in exchange for bogus advice on how to apply for government benefits can apply for redress payments as a result of a Federal Trade Commission lawsuit, but must do so by July 5, 2022.
The scammers, sued by the FTC in December 2019, ran hundreds of deceptive websites that promised a quick and easy government service, such as renewing a driver’s license, or eligibility determinations for public benefits like Section 8 housing or food stamps. The sites had names like DMV.com, floridadriverslicense.org and many others that were designed to mimic legitimate government websites. The defendants operated under several names, including On Point Global.
On sites where consumers submitted payments for supposed government services, they received at most a PDF with publicly available information on how to apply for a drivers’ license. On other sites that claimed to tell consumers if they were eligible for government benefits, consumers who submitted detailed and sensitive personal information almost immediately began receiving a wave of unwanted sales and marketing contacts.
As a result of the FTC’s win at trial, a federal court ordered a refund process to be established for consumers who were harmed by On Point Global and its network of fake websites. Consumers must submit claims in order to receive payments, and payment is available both for consumers who paid money to the sites and those who submitted personal information.
The money being used to provide payments to consumers is a result of a contempt motion filed by the FTC against one of the defendants in the case, Burton Katz. Katz was previously sued by the FTC for placing millions of dollars in unwanted charges on consumers’ mobile phone bills by using spam text messages pitching “free” gift cards. As a result of that suit, Katz was placed under a court order prohibiting from any further violations of the FTC Act. Because of his involvement in this new fake government websites scam, the FTC filed the motion alleging that Katz and other defendants were in contempt of that order. The court ruled in the FTC’s favor on the motion and awarded the monetary relief.
If a consumer either: paid money to an On Point Global fake DMV site between January 2017 and December 2019 and didn’t already get their money back, or submitted their personal information to an On Point Global government benefits site in 2019, they are eligible for a payment, and should receive an email by mid-April with instructions from the company handling the claims process. Legitimate emails related to this settlement will come from firstname.lastname@example.org, or from an ftc.gov email address, and will be sent to the e-mail address used when consumers paid or submitted information to the bogus site.
Consumers who believe they are eligible for a payment and have not received an email should visit https://onpointclaimform.com and enter their name and email address. They should get an email immediately with a personalized claim link, and they should follow the instructions in that link. They must enter the same email address used when they paid for fake DMV services. If they don't have access to that email, the site provides instructions on how to change their contact email.
While the refund process is not being administered by the FTC, there is additional information available for affected consumers on the FTC’s website. Consumers who paid money to fake DMV sites can visit https://ftc.gov/OnPointDMV for more information; consumers who submitted personal information to fake government benefits sites can visit https://ftc.gov/OnPointBenefits for more information.
The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition and protect and educate consumers. Learn more about consumer topics at consumer.ftc.gov, or report fraud, scams, and bad business practices at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Follow the FTC on social media, read consumer alerts and the business blog, and sign up to get the latest FTC news and alerts.