The Washington Attorney General’s office this week announced a settlement with a group of software companies accused of using deceptive warnings and “free scans” to sell anti-spyware programs and registry cleaners.
The companies are all owned by Mississippi resident Bruce Cope. They include e-Next Media Inc., c-Net Media Inc., 2Squared Software LL, Antispyware LLC, PC Utility Inc. and C&C Networks Inc.
Those companies sell products such as SpywareStop, SpywareBot, Spyware Remover, MalwareBot, Ad-ware alert, RegistryBot, Error Killer, RegRecall and others, the attorney general’s office said.
The companies encouraged Internet users to perform a “free scan” on their computers. Those scans always found spyware infections or registry errors. The programs then prompted users to buy their computer cleanup products for as much as $39.95.
The agreement filed in Thurston County Superior Court doesn’t include an admission of wrongdoing by the companies. It does require, however, that the companies change their marketing practices to conform with state consumer protection laws.