Crammers busted for breaking into Angry Birds games with fake anti-virus ads — Pay $1.2 million, issue refunds

What could be more annoying than a pop-up ad on your phone when you’re trying to play Angry Birds? How about a fake Android virus warning from a company that crams charges on your cell phone bill for services you didn’t agree to pay for?

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) just extracted a settlejesta-virusalertsment from a company that was allegedly running such a scheme. Jesta Digital LLC, which also does business as Jamster, agreed to refund customers and pay the FTC $1.2 million.

According to the FTC, the company ran fake virus scan ads on consumers’ Android mobile devices while they played Angry Birds. The ads falsely claimed to have detected a virus on mobile devices.  The ads had a robot image that resembled  the Android operating system’s robot logo.

Consumers who clicked the ads were sent to a series of screens with bold warnings about protecting Android devices from viruses. The FTC alleged that although there was a subscriber button, clicking anywhere on the screens would result in a monthly charge of $9.99 on  the consumers’ mobile bill for  ringtones and other content.

Consumers who tried to subscribe and download the so-called anti-virus software often found that the download failed. Jesta charged consumers by misusing a novel, little-used billing method known as Wireless Access Protocol (WAP) billing.

Watchyourbuck wrote about the FTC’s first mobile cramming case against another business in April.

The proposed settlement prohibits Jesta from making deceptive statements about viruses and anti-virus software, the price of goods or services, or conditions of a purchase.  The company also must get express verifiable authorization from a consumer before it can charge their mobile phone bill.

Jesta must automatically give full refunds to consumers billed between Dec. 8, 2011, and the date of entry of the order for any product or service that involved in claiming a consumer’s device was infected with malware or that the company’s  software would protect their mobile device from malware.

For consumers Jesta charged between Aug. 1 and Dec. 7, 2011, under short code 75555, the company is required to tell them of their ability to get a refund.

If you are among those consumers, contact Jesta at 866-856-5267 or info@jamster.com and make a refund request. Jesta must refund consumers who did not use the service offered by Jesta or where the charges were incurred by a child under age 18.

Jesta will also pay $1.2 million directly to the FTC.

Consumers with questions about the case or the refund process may contact the FTC for more information at 202-326-3523.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Crammers busted for breaking into Angry Birds games with fake anti-virus ads — Pay $1.2 million, issue refunds

  1. Mark Burrows

    Here’s a concept. There are some things in technology we probably should rather than evolve. Cell phones is such an area. Yes, I agree, it is amazing technology with Smartphones and Super phones. But the question is. Do we really need the added gimmicks to devices that should only be a communication device? Do we need the added distractions in our already busy lives 24/7?
    The answer is no. Communication companies are having a heyday with the new technology by capitalizing on endless costly Apps and higher risks to attaching viruses, spyware, malware, and adware to your fancy phone through internet access. Yes, there is all kinds of protection software you can buy for your new device, but the thing is, you are likely tied into a contract with your Cellular provider, who is always going to tempt you in 12 to 18 months to upgrade your phone to the latest and greatest devices at little or no extra cost just for locking you up for another year. So all of the Apps, software and goodies you purchased for your present toy will likely not be transferable or applicable to the next generation of phones.
    I know that at the end of my contract, I am going to downgrade back to just a simple cell phone. I have a number of laptops up and running, a note book, and a tablet. Depending on where I am going and for how long will determine which of those devices I will take along.
    Standing around in public navigating through a device is not my cup of tea. I have no desire to look like the rest of the drones who don’t care that there are less trees and grass in parks and more concrete and cement. Why should they? They never look up to notice with their faces glued to their devices.
    Want less headaches, stress and frustration? Stay clear of the smart and super phones. Maybe that will further bring down the costs of satellite phones which have come down, but not enough. That’s the technology I want, no drop outs, one fee per minute no matter where in the world you are. They can pop up satellites in to orbit with more efficiency than it takes to plot out, get permission, and erect an ugly cell tower. Plus, no one has started claiming to own space so no one is charging rent yet.

    Mark Burrows

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