Washington State Sues Company For Fake Error Messages

from the that-old-scam? dept

For years, questionable "software" firms would buy up ads that pretended to look like computer warning messages telling you that your computer was at risk. Then there were scamming companies that would include a web-based "test" of your computer to see if it was at risk -- and, of course, it always found that you were. The scam is just to get you to download (and buy) their software which rarely does anything (and most of the time you don't need it). The FTC had cracked down on these companies a while back, but it appears at least some are still in business. Washington state is now suing a software company that apparently did something similar sending messages to computer users claiming "CRITICAL ERROR!" and demanding that they download the company's product immediately to repair the problem. Of course, there was almost never an actual problem... but the software cost $40.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Jeff, Sep 30th, 2008 @ 7:18pm


    Actually, I see this program advertised on TV called Finally Fast that claims to speed up your PC and Internet, and it is for PC computers only, yet, most of the computers they show are Macs, and one was even playing a game on a laptop using a ps2 controller... the ad was fake, I am sure people downloaded it and got scammed out of their money and were denied refunds.

    I decided to actually call up Finally Fast, three separate times, talking to three different people, asking them a bunch of questions about their program and what it can do, and recorded all three.

    What you will hear is astonishing.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWF_U6fmmMs - Call #1: I speak to a guy named Matt who works in Sales and doesn't know the advertisements they do.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NapxF5SNiM0 - Call #2: Tom tells me how the internet can be increased by 375%. So this means I could download at 20kb a second on dial-up. Sounds awesome, right?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQBsi-UT7zA - Call #3: My final call and I talk to Katie. She tells me how kilobytes are injected into my internet connection from a CD-rom you download to make it go faster. Oh, and Spybot S&D, Spysweeper, and ZoneAlarm are viruses.

    I still see this program advertised on TV and I am just waiting for Ascentive to get nailed by the FTC too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    China Business Watch, Sep 30th, 2008 @ 8:03pm

    It's a good news that Washington State has taken the right action. In fact,ads that look like computer warning messages are indeed very temptating, especialy for unexperienced user of Internet. People need a cleaner WWW, and only the honest can survice in the long run.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2008 @ 9:11pm

    If only the inexperienced users just used firefox with adblock...

    Good to see Washington go after them though, props for that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    ehrichweiss, Sep 30th, 2008 @ 10:10pm


    Your computer might be at risk. Download Payusheavilyasshead 5.0 Premium and say goodbye to those pesky W.DollaDollaDollaBillYall viruses.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 1st, 2008 @ 12:55am


    Are you sure its not setting you up to use a proxy which recompresses images at lower quality? Then at least it would be honest software, even if its customer service is idiotic and its commercials have nothing to do with the product (wouldnt be the first time)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Eric, Oct 1st, 2008 @ 9:32am

    Had one this morning...

    I had one in Safari this morning that made safari very small with only the Pop-Up on the screen. I could not quit Safari as it was not an option (grayed out), I actually to had Force Quit Safari to get it to go away without clicking on it. To a normal user these are scary things, especially when it makes your browser disappear. Users are very naive and are scared of any virus because the media beats it into their head that they should be. Unfortunately that is all they know, and they are willing to click on anything that says it will help them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 1st, 2008 @ 10:54am

    Eric, Alt+F4 no worky?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Jeff, Oct 1st, 2008 @ 11:07am


    No no, it really is crap. It is what creates the errors, the spyware, installs trojans and malware and makes the user pay to get it removed.

    It's fraud at it's best.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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