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Fake antivirus software scheme results in four year jail sentence

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department of justice
department of justice

Swedish credit card payment processor Mikael Sallnert has been sentenced to four years in prison and ordered to pay $650,000 for participating in an international "scareware" scam that made $71 million by defrauding unsuspecting users. The scheme that Sallnert processed payments for provides scareware that masquerades as legitimate antivirus software, but reports that the scanned machine is infected with malware when it is not. It then repeatedly asks users to upgrade the software for a fee of up to $129 in order to repair their computer. The Department of Justice estimates that 960,000 people fell victim to this particular scareware scam, though Sallnert is only responsible for processing about $5 million of the $71 million taken from users. The rest of the scareware ring is under investigation by the FBI's Seattle Division Cyber Task Force, and users who suspect they have fallen victim should file a complaint with the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center.