A company that tricked consumers into buying bogus anti-spyware software has been shut down by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
The FTC said in a ruling that Spyware Assassin did not remove spyware and used bogus advertising to lure users onto its website. These included pop-up ads that told people they had spyware on their PCs when no such software existed.
"The defendants claim that the software they sell for $29.95 will 'remove all spyware programs and files' and will 'prevent any future breaches'," the FTC finding stated.
"According to the FTC, the 'anti-spyware' software does not remove all or substantially all spyware, and the defendants' deceptive claims violate the FTC Act, which bars deceptive claims.
"The agency will seek a permanent ban on the deceptive claims and will ask the court to order consumer redress from defendants MaxTheater Inc, a Washington corporation, and Thomas L Delanoy, its principal."
Users of the Spyware Assassin website would be offered a remote scan of their computer, which invariably found spyware. Users were then urged to pay to download the full software.
The court ruled against the defendants by a 5-0 majority and the site has been taken down. Last year the FTC received 200,000 complaints about internet fraud.
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