Woman Charged $163 Million Over Huge Scareware Fraud

A woman who ran a huge 'scareware' fraud was charged $163 million by U.S. authorities.

Kristy Ross ran a successful operation that tricked victims into thinking their computer had been infected with malicious software. The users were then charged between $40 and $60 to "fix" the fake spyware.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been pursuing the case against Ross and her associates since 2008. Others who ran similar scams that were investigated by the FTC have been ordered to return millions of dollars from their earnings. Last year, for example, Marc D'Souza and his father, Maurice D'Souza, were ordered to pay $8.2 million of their "ill-gotten" profits.

As for Ross, who has since been permanently banned from selling computer security software, she spearheaded a scheme that utilized a pop-up advertisement that told users a "system scan" was taking place -- I'm sure we've all seen some sort of these annoying ads that don't let you leave until you click the "Are you sure you want to leave?" button.

The bogus scan method was described by the FTC as "elaborate and technologically sophisticated". The product names pertaining to the scam includes the likes of Winfixer, DriveCleaner, FreeRepair, WinAntivirus, WinAntispyware and System Doctor.

Ross was involved a Ukraine-based company called Innovative Marketing, as well as ByteHosting Internet Services. She was apparently successful in targeting more than a million computer systems.

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  • rohitbaran
    This is one occasion where the fines don't seem to be too large. If she duped many people, she deserves this.
  • zoemayne
    I remember there was one U.S. based company(something doctor??) who's software was even flagging fresh installs of win xp. they deserve jail this is fraud but the law is not too bright about web fraud. hec, these companies probably used cc info for str8 up identity theft.
  • Pinhedd
    All these scammers should be hit in the face with a piece of heavy mining equipment
  • nforce4max
    At least they nailed another dirt bag but one is never enough. There is always more fish in the sea that is yet to be hauled in.
  • thecolorblue
  • julianbautista87
    oh dear, I was about to cash in my Nigerian inheritance to buy a copy of this software...
  • nieur
    she should be sentenced not only to return the money but also some serious jail time so that many others out there will get a lesson.
  • jivdis1x
    otacon72Guess I'll play devils advocate and say if you're dumb enough to fall for this you deserve what you get.
    It is not being dumb. Their pc was hijack. The user sometime not as fluent in pc as everyone here. Is like owning a car and a status light popup on the dash stating something wrong. The pop up cripple ur car. In this case, the pop up was generated not by the car but by a thief standing outside your car.
  • uglynerdman
    The united states at work... a company breaks the law causes cancer for millions they get a small fine they pay off easily. the fine doesnt relate to the cost of the crime. A woman scams a bunch of people using a computer little over a million people for at maximum 60 bucks meaning a net profit around say she did 2 million people now overestimating.. 120 million.. she gets fined 160 million. She didnt even make that much...
  • Sakkura
    otacon72Guess I'll play devils advocate and say if you're dumb enough to fall for this you deserve what you get.And since she was dumb enough to get caught she deserves what she got.