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Court halts scheme deceiving consumers about government services
The Federal Trade Commission has announced that a court has granted the Commission's request to preliminarily halt a scheme in which the defendants operated hundreds of websites that promised a quick and easy government service, such as renewing a driver’s license, or eligibility determinations for public benefits. Following an evidentiary hearing, the court held that the FTC was likely to prevail in proving that “the websites were patently misleading.”
The FTC’s complaint in the case alleges that consumers provided their information because they believe the websites will actually provide these services. Instead, consumers received only a PDF containing publicly available, general information about the service they sought.
An ex parte motion filed by the FTC alleges that the defendants’ sites employed similar branding, language, and functionality to induce consumers to relinquish their credit card information, personal data, or both.