A group of lead generator defendants who participated in a massive technical support scam that was shut down by the Federal Trade Commission and the State of Florida, will be required to perform due diligence on businesses before they generate and sell leads to those entities and pay $258,000 under the terms of a settlement with the agencies.
The complaint filed by the agencies in 2014 alleged that Cashier Myricks and corporate defendants PC Cleaner, Inc.; Netcom3 Global, Inc.; Netcom3, Inc. (d/b/a Netcom3 Software,Inc.), provided “free trial” versions of software purportedly designed to enhance the security or performance of personal computers to consumers online. The complaint alleged that the software once downloaded, always identified problems with a consumer’s computer requiring the “full” paid version of the software, even when there were no computer problems.
According to the complaint, defendants then told consumers that to “activate” their software, they were required to call a phone number that connected them to the telemarketing defendants named in the case who used high-pressure sales tactics to sign consumers up for unneeded technical support subscriptions and services costing hundreds of dollars.
Under the terms of the settlement, the defendants are prohibited from deceiving consumers in the process of selling goods and services. In addition, the defendants are required to review the business practices of companies for whom they generate leads to ensure that those companies are not misleading consumers or violating the FTC Act or Florida’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
The settlement contains a monetary judgment of $29,536,628.11, which is suspended based on the defendants’ financial condition. They will be required to pay $258,000, including the proceeds from a sale of a 2012 Bentley and a 2013 Range Rover. Should the court later find that the defendants misrepresented their financial condition, the full amount of the judgment would come due.
The Commission vote approving the stipulated final order was 3-0. The FTC filed the proposed order in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, which signed the stipulated final order on July 13, 2016.