A website that advertised it could help consumers identify who had searched for them online will pay slightly over $1 million and change its business practices to settle a civil case, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced Friday.
The website MyLife.com will pay $800,000 in civil penalties over a period of nearly two years to be equally divided by the District Attorney’s Office and the Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office, along with $250,000 in restitution to customers.
Prosecutors said the website promised users free access to services that included the ability to see who was searching for them on the Internet, but those who used the site for free had to provide identifying information and did not receive any tangible benefits.
The company was also accused of using blurred or obscured photos designed to appear as if the photos were of the people searching for the targeted consumer, and automatically renewing the yearly memberships of paying customers without their explicit consent.
The terms of a final judgment signed Wednesday include barring the company from making any untrue or misleading representations to promote sales; representing that photos are linked to search results unless the photo depicts the individual referred to in the marketing material; and automatically renewing memberships without presenting the offer terms in a clear manner, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
The case stemmed from an investigation by the District Attorney’s Consumer Protection Division and the Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office.
— City News Service