Refund checks are being mailed to more than 172,000 consumers nationwide who were defrauded by a scam in which consumers were falsely promised free gifts such as shopping sprees, movie passes, and gas vouchers and wrongfully paid monthly fees for “program memberships” in discount buying and travel clubs.

Consumers who were victims of the “Wal-Mart Shopping Spree” scam will receive a total of more than $3 million in refunds. These are legitimate checks, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) urges consumers to cash them.

In this 2006 case,the court banned Brian K. McGregor, the architect of the scheme, from telemarketing and selling program memberships. McGregor and Membership Services Direct, Inc., also known as Continuity Partners, Inc., were ordered to pay $28.2 million.

The amount of money consumers receive from the redress administrator will vary, depending on how much they lost in the scam. The average check will be for about $18 per consumer. The redress administrator will mail checks directly to eligible consumers.

The refund checks must be cashed within 60 days of receipt, or they will become void. Consumers should call 1-866-783-5589 with any questions or click on the Internet link here. The FTC never requires the payment of money up front, or the provision of additional information, before consumers cash refund checks issued to them.