Seller of melanoma detection apps settles FTC complaint

The marketers of Mole Detective apps lacked proof their products could detect melanoma, the agency says

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has settled a false adversting complaint with the marketer of mobile app Mole Detective.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has settled a false adversting complaint with the marketer of mobile app Mole Detective.

Smartphone users might be better off seeing a doctor than relying on a family of mobile apps to diagnose whether moles on their skin are cancerous.

The final defendant remaining in a U.S. Federal Trade Commission lawsuit alleging false or unsubstantiated claims for a family of purported melanoma detection mobile apps has settled with the agency.

Under the settlement, Avrom Lasarow is barred from making further deceptive health claims about his products, the FTC said Thursday. He and his company, L Health, advertised the Mole Detective family of apps, which were sold for up to US$4.99 in the Apple and Google app stores, the agency said.

"We haven't found any scientific evidence that Mole Detective can accurately assess melanoma risk," Jessica Rich, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. "If you're concerned that a mole may be cancerous, please see a health professional."

Lasarow and his company took over marketing the Mole Detective app in August 2012, after it was originally developed and marketed by Kristi Kimball and her company, New Consumer Solutions. Lasarow's company added derivative apps like Mole Detect Pro, the FTC said.

Lasarow, Kimball, and their companies were named in a February complaint filed by the FTC.

The Mole Detective apps instructed users to photograph a mole with a smartphone camera and input other information about the mole, the agency said in its complaint. The apps then supposedly determined the mole's melanoma risk to be low, medium, or high.

The marketers deceptively claimed that the apps accurately analyzed melanoma risk and could assess the risk in early stages, the FTC alleged. The marketers lacked adequate evidence to support such claims, the agency charged.

Kimball and her company agreed to settle the charges before the FTC filed its complaint, and on May 29, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, entered a default judgment against L Health. Lasarow has now agreed to a stipulated order settling the agency's charges.

Under the proposed settlement, Lasarow is prohibited from making any misleading or unsubstantiated claims about the health benefits or efficacy of any product or service, including that a device detects or diagnoses melanoma. The proposed order also imposes a $58,623.42 judgment, which is suspended based on Lasarow's inability to pay.

The IDG News Service was unable to contact Lasarow for comment on the settlement.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags governmentmobileregulationinternetU.S. Federal Trade CommissionInternet-based applications and servicesU.S. District Court for the Northern District of IllinoisEastern DivisionJessica RichNew Consumer SolutionsKristi KimballAvrom LasarowL Health

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?