The Federal Trade Commission in the US are to help consumers who fell victim to “scareware” and ensure they receive refunds from the companies responsible.
Scareware is a fake anti-virus product or online pop-up which tricks computer users into thinking that their machine has a virus, which the company asks for a fee to fix.
The FTC have tracked down some of the companies behind the fraud and have agreed in settlements that the bogus firms should surrender more than $8 million, which will be used to refund disgruntled victims.
It is thought that more than 300,000 people fell victim to the scams carried out by selling programs such as Winfixer, Drive Cleaner and XP Antivirus, which claimed to fix non-existent computer malware problems.
The amount consumers are refunded will depend on how much they lost, but the FTC expect each cheque to be around $20 and each should be cashed within 60 days of receipt.
Cheques will be issued by the FTC and anyone who believes they have fallen victim to the scam and should receive compensation should visit the FTC’s refunds section on their website.
This only applies to readers in the US. Victims in the UK should contact their credit card provider to see if a refund is available to them now that the malicious programs have been proven to be fraudulent.