With all the spam people receive in their mailboxes, it’s no surprise people treat offers of money with suspicion.
That’s what VERIFY reader Benjamin did when he got a postcard in the mail that said he could claim money as a result of a settlement between the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and a company called On Point Global.
“This is a scam, right?” Benjamin asked VERIFY. “Or is it one of those real settlements that seems like a scam?”
Is the On Point Global settlement with the Federal Trade Commission real?
Yes, the On Point Global settlement with the Federal Trade Commission is real.
WHAT WE FOUND
At the time the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) initiated its lawsuit, On Point Global was the umbrella company for an operation that included 52 known companies. These companies ran deceptive, scammy websites meant to trick consumers into thinking they were providing government services.
In August 2022, the FTC announced consumers who had paid money for services from websites run by On Point Global were eligible for a refund thanks to an $85 million lawsuit filed against the company by the FTC.
“The company responsible for managing the refund process sent emails and postcards to people who are eligible,” the FTC said.
The second URL on the postcard, ftc.gov/OnPointDMV, redirects users to the FTC’s announcement. The FTC’s “file your claim” link takes consumers to onpointclaimform.com, the first URL mentioned on the postcard.
All eligible claimants received an email notifying them with a link to their proof of claim form, according to onpointclaimform.com, the website responsible for managing this settlement’s claims.
Consumers do not need to submit any documentation in their proof of claim, the FTC says.
Eligible claimants will receive a full refund for the amount they paid to On Point Global, including any processing fees but minus any amount already returned or refunded.
Consumers who did not pay On Point Global but provided personal information may receive money based on the amount of personal information they gave On Point Global and the amount of people who submit claims. These consumers will receive $15 at most.
The FTC says claimants may choose to receive their payment by Venmo, Paypal or by check.
According to the complaint the FTC filed in 2019, On Point Global is responsible for operating more than 200 websites designed to lure consumers into submitting payment and personal information.
The websites were presented in a way that made them appear to be legitimate state or government websites, referencing driver’s licenses, hunting and fishing licenses, car registrations or passports in many of the sites’ URLs, according to a document the FTC submitted alongside its complaint.
On Point Global’s websites featured links offering government services, including license renewal, according to the FTC’s complaint, but consumers instead ended up paying for PDFs of publicly available information about those government services. None of On Point Global’s websites were actually capable of completing any of these services.
An archived version of one such website, dmvdriverlicenses.org, shows the extent of personal information a person would have to submit to “get [their] Texas driver license application and checklist.” It includes the personal information one would need to submit to many state DMVs to get their actual driver’s license — such as home address, birth date, phone number and email — as well as information about the consumer’s vehicle.
The FTC says consumers who paid one of these websites between January 2017 and December 2019 are eligible for a refund, as long as they have not already gotten their money back from On Point Global. The agency says the deadline to apply for a refund is Sept. 7, 2022.
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