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FTC settles with Lumos Labs over its phony 'brain training' program

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Lumos Labs, the company behind the Lumosity "brain training" program, settled with the FTC today for $2 million over charges that it made unsubstantiated claims about its program’s positive effects on memory and cognition. Lumos claimed that by playing its 40 games for between 10 to 15 minutes multiple times per week, users would perform better at work and in school, help slow or prevent the onset of dementia, and reduce cognitive impairment. These claims were not backed up by any science, the FTC says. The program’s testimonials weren’t trustworthy, either. At least some were produced only after people submitted them as contest entries to win expensive prizes, including an iPad and a round-trip vacation to San Francisco.

In addition to the redress money, Lumos has to inform subscribers who paid $14.95 per month or purchased a lifetime membership for $299.95 of the settlement and how they can easily cancel their auto-renewal fees.

The FTC will likely have an active 2016

The FTC settled multiple big cases this past year, including its largest ever. In that case, LifeLock settled with the agency and agreed to pay $100 million over charges that it failed to adequately protect users' data. It also allegedly failed to alert consumers that they might have been victims of identity theft. Later in the year, the FTC also settled with Oracle over its deceitful security updates. The company wasn’t ordered to pay any redress fees. The FTC’s Lumos Labs decision suggests the agency will have a similarly active 2016.