FTC Hits Scareware Operator with $163M Judgement

(Ping! Zine Web Tech Magazine) – $163 million: That’s how much the operator of an illegal scarware scheme will have to fork over to the FTC after the Commission found Kristy Ross liable for operating the scam.

The operation itself convinced online users they had viruses through fake browser advertisements. False scans convinced computer owners their systems were infected, directing them to purchase software ranging in prices from 40 to 60 dollars.

Aside from the massive debt Ross will receive, she’ll also be barred from selling security-related computer software.

“The free scan claims to find a host of problems, and within seconds, you’re getting urgent pop-ups to buy security software. After you agree to spend $40 or more on the software, the program tells you that your problems are fixed. The reality: there was nothing to fix. And what’s worse, the program now installed on your computer could be harmful,” says the FTC in a consumer alert appearing on its website.

Ross allegedly began her operation in 2008 and other co-defendants previously settled with the FTC for smaller amounts.