The government may finally have your back when it comes to computer-based scams. The Federal Trade Commission has slapped a massive fine onto advertisers who scared users into believing that their computers were infected with malicious files, viruses, and pornography so that they would spend money on a bogus removal program.
The advertisers responsible for peddling this "scareware" have been fined $163 million for misrepresenting "expressly or by implication, that they had conducted scans of consumers' computers and detected security or privacy issues, including viruses, spyware, system errors, and pornography."
In other words, they have been fined for false advertising as these ads for the scareware didn't actually complete any sort of scan to arrive at the conclusion that users' computers were infected. Of course, users were then redirected to buy removal software that would take care of the non-existent problem.
Kristy Ross, Sam Jain, Daniel Sundin will get to share the large portion of the fine, an amount that is roughly triple what they brought in from 2000 to 2008 ($60M).