FTC Halts Massive Scam That Tricks Consumers Into Buying Anti-Virus Software

Have you ever got one of those annoying ads that claim your computer is infected? Well, the FTC has put a stop to the scam and the five anti-virus products involved.

The scam as described by the FTC:

According to the FTC’s complaint, the defendants used an elaborate ruse that duped Internet advertising networks and popular Web sites into carrying their advertisements. The defendants falsely claimed that they were placing Internet advertisements on behalf of legitimate companies and organizations. But due to hidden programming code that the defendants inserted into the advertisements, consumers who visited Web sites where these ads were placed did not receive them. Instead, consumers received exploitive advertisements that took them to one of the defendants’ Web sites. These sites would then claim to scan the consumers’ computers for security and privacy issues. The “scans” would find a host of purported problems with the consumers’ computers and urge them to buy the defendants’ computer security products for $39.95 or more. However, the scans were entirely false.

The products behind the scam are as follows: WinFixer, WinAntivirus, DriveCleaner, ErrorSafe, and XP Antivirus. Apparently, over a million people have been duped by the companies behind these products, and if you happen to be one of them, I highly suggest getting yourself a good, reliable program like the ones listed by Lifehacker. [FTC via Consumerist]