Crypto-credits company PayCoin has agreed to pay $20.2 million to the Federal Trade Commission after an FTC investigation found that it failed to protect consumers and customers against fraudulent claims by using fake email addresses and fake phone numbers to purchase digital currencies.
PayCoin CEO Matthew Green was not available for comment Monday, and a company representative declined to comment further.
In a filing Monday with the FTC, PayCoin said it had paid out $1.1 million and was investigating more than 100 fraudulent claims in 2016.
In its complaint, the FTC said that PayCoin didn’t properly inform consumers and other customers that PayPal, PayPal, or Coinbase were not responsible for verifying the identities of the companies’ customers, and that PayCoins emails were fraudulent.
The complaint also said PayCoin did not use proper email addresses or phone numbers for consumers to purchase their digital currency.
PayCoins users had to click on a link to buy their cryptocurrency, and instead of signing up for a PayCoin account, users were asked to create a PayCoin address to log into the company’s website.
The company’s email address, as well as the name of the person they were buying from, were also displayed, the complaint said.
PayPal did not respond to a request for comment.
Paycoin was founded in 2013, and in January 2016 it said it was adding more than 10,000 merchants.
In December 2016, the company announced it would buy digital currency exchange service Coinfloor for $2 billion.
In September 2016, Paycoin said it would start using a new website called Paypal Paycoin that would allow users to verify their identities using a QR code.
In October, the SEC fined PayCoin for misleading consumers and merchants into buying its digital currency, saying PayCoin’s website misrepresented the risks of using its digital coins and suggested consumers could not use their PayCoin balances to buy digital goods and services.
In July 2017, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago, where PayCoin was headquartered, filed a civil complaint with the U-S.
Department of Justice alleging that Paycoin had not properly notified customers that the company did not have control over the identities and addresses of its customers.
In the civil complaint, a representative of the U,S.
Attorneys Office said PayCoIns customers could not verify their identity with PayCoin.
The representative said Paycoin was “a fraudulent service that made false claims to consumers about the authenticity of their funds and falsely stated that PayPayers customers could transfer their funds from PayCoin to other payment processors, instead of to their accounts.”
In the complaint, an FTC agent said PayPal PayCoin employees had “a general policy of lying to consumers, but in this case they were doing it for their own benefit.”
The complaint was filed in the Southern District of New York.