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Dec 17 2008   1:02AM GMT

Overheard – Scareware is a $100 million scam

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

warning1.gif A Baltimore federal court judge ordered six absent defendants yesterday – including one from Maryland – to shut down Internet businesses that the Federal Trade Commission claims are part of a vast $100 million “scareware” scheme that tricked more than a million people into purchasing useless security software by making them think their computers were under attack.

Tricia Bishop, Court orders ‘scareware’ shut down

The companies allegedly represented themselves falsely as Internet marketers and used legitimate advertising outlets to place malicious advertisements that redirected consumers to the defendants’ Web sites.

There, screens would pop up saying a security scan had revealed harmful or illegal files and urging computer users to purchase software for $40 to fix the phony problems. In that way, the companies were able to bilk people of more than $100 million, according to the FTC.

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