Class Claims Internet Firms Use 'Fake News'
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (CN) - An Internet marketer uses "fake news articles and fake blogs" to direct browsers to its page, then bills people's credits cards without permission, a class action claims in Jackson County Court. The class claims that Pacific Web Works is preying upon people hurt by the recession by promising them work-at-home jobs.
The Nevada-based company claims - falsely - that its victims will work directly with Google, and will be well paid for it, says lead plaintiff Thomas Aikens.
Aikens claims Pacific's initial offers come as spam email, sponsored links, banner ads on Internet search pages and links in fake news articles and fake blogs.
The complaint cites 18 corporate names or dbas.
Pacific Web Works' game is to drive consumers to pages where a purchase can be made by credit card, according to the complaint.
Once consumers lands on a Pacific products page, they are urged to buy a Pacific product, usually a CD or software kit that allegedly will how to earn thousands of dollars by working at home using Google, Aikens claims.
"These landing pages typically contain language describing their offering 'As seen on: Fox News, CNN,' and 'USA Today,'" the complaint states.
"The website prominently features network logos without license from these media entities and are plainly designed to suggest to a consumer that the offering is supported by a reputable entity. Pacific WebWorks have never been 'seen on' or endorsed by any of the networks claimed on the website."
Aiken says Pacific often advertises that its products cost $2 or less. But in fine print, Aiken claims, consumers are told they will be subject to a recurring monthly charge of $79.90 for access to a program that allegedly allows them to "Start Making Money Today!"
Consumers may also find that Pacific billed them $24.90 a month, for another, unknown product, Aikens says.
The complaint claims that Pacific operates under a variety of Internet names including Tracking202 Inc.; Media Trust LLC (Advaliant); CyberPlex inc. (CX Digital Media); Coleadium Inc. (Ads4Dough); JAR Media LLC; Sybtrackcom; eSynergy Media LLC; W4 Media LLC; Bskytracking.com; GMB Direct Inc.; Elite Clicks Media LLC; Tracklead.net; Track606.com; Intermark Communications Inc. (Copeac); Zoomleads.net; Vetrue Incorporated (Neverblue); Lidango; and Convert2Media LLC.
The class seeks restitution and punitive damages for fraud, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and violations of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act. It is represented by Williams Crowe of Springfield, Mo.