Experian Class Action Lawsuit Settlement Email – Not a Scam

Recently, we received the forwarded email below from a reader who was trying to figure out whether it was a phishing scam or not. The email concerns a proposed settlement in a class action against Experian’s ConsumerInfo.com.

It sure looked like a scam to us. The amateur subject line: NOTICE FROM FEDERAL COURT. PLEASE READ did not inspire confidence.

Worse, the email invited the recipient to register for a class action by entering their social security number online and date of birth – and the page wasn’t even secure!

The email return address was browningnotice@gardencitygroup.com. We checked the Garden City Group website (a litigation administering company) and found no mention of this case in their exhaustive list. We then emailed Garden City Group but received no answer. We Googled the case (Chuck Browning v. Yahoo!) and found just a couple of mentions – if this was such a major lawsuit, how come no one has mentioned it?

Now we realize we weren’t the only ones. In a post on the Security Fix blog on WashingtonPost.com, Brian Krebs recounts how he attempted to confirm whether this email was legitimate, too.

Amazingly, the email is REAL. Although if they’d tried to make it look like a scam, they could hardly have done a better job.

Incredibly, consumers who feel damaged by their treatment at the hands of Experian’s ConsumerInfo.com and its various credit monitoring products will receive…..MORE OF THE SAME. The settlement proposes to offer participants 2 more months of credit monitoring that caused the problem in the first place! And, consumers will have to cancel after 2 months or BE CHARGED $9.95 a month! (Smart people will take the free credit score).

How do you feel about this? Please take our poll.

Proposed Settlement in Experian’s ConsumerInfo.com Class Action

You may be eligible to receive a benefit from a class-action settlement if you purchased and paid for a credit score or credit monitoring from ConsumerInfo.com or an Experian Entity between June 17, 1998 and December 27, 2006.

You may be eligible if you entered into an agreement over the Internet with ConsumerInfo.com or an Experian Entity to purchase any Credit Check or Credit Check Monitoring (which were formerly known as CreditCheck® Monitoring Service), Credit Manager (including Yahoo! Credit Manager), Triple Alert, or Triple Advantage credit-monitoring product, or you paid for a credit score sold on a website that also sold one of these credit-monitoring products, between June 17, 1998 and December 27, 2006. If so, you may be eligible to receive a benefit under the proposed settlement.

The settlement will resolve a lawsuit over whether Defendants violated the federal Credit Repair Organizations Act or are liable for claims where the stated basis is about improvement of a consumer's credit record, history, or rating. Under the settlement, Defendants deny that they are liable, but have agreed not to make certain statements on particular websites and to provide all Settlement Class Members with the opportunity to obtain their choice of a settlement benefit: either (i) a credit score or (ii) 60 days of credit monitoring, as described below and on the settlement website. To see if you are a Class Member and to obtain full notice of the proposed Settlement, the required procedures, the Effective Date, the deadlines, your obligations, and your options, you must visit www.browningsettlement.com. This email is only a brief summary of the full notice that is posted on the website.

If you are an eligible Settlement Class Member, you have rights, obligations, and options under the proposed settlement. You have until May 15, 2007 to make your decision. Your legal rights are affected whether you act or not.

  1. Submit A Registration Form Online Or By Mail
    This is the only way to get a settlement benefit of either a credit score or 60 days of credit monitoring. You will choose your benefit, and you must keep all of your registration information updated. If you choose credit monitoring, and you don't cancel your credit-monitoring membership after using your code to obtain the credit monitoring benefit but prior to the expiration of the 60 day, settlement benefit period, you will be billed at the then-applicable rate, which is currently $9.95, for each month that you continue your membership. Beginning on the Effective Date of the settlement, you will be able to register online or by mail. If you register online, your registration must be completed no later than sixty (60) days after the Effective Date, and submitted online by midnight Pacific Time. If you register by mail, your registration must be mailed and postmarked on or before sixty (60) days after the Effective Date. For more information on these deadlines, the Effective Date of the settlement, the registration procedures, and the settlement benefit, you must visit www.browningsettlement.com. Do not contact the Court.
  2. Exclude Yourself
    This is the only option that allows you to ever be part of any other lawsuit about the claims in this case. You will not be eligible for a settlement benefit. Your request for exclusion must be mailed and postmarked on or before May 15, 2007. Any request for exclusion must be mailed to the Browning Settlement Administrator. Do not contact the Court.
  3. Object
    Write to the Browning Settlement Administrator in order to tell the Court about why you don't like the settlement. Your objection must be mailed and postmarked on or before May 15, 2007. Do not contact the Court.
  4. Go to a Hearing
    Write to the Browning Settlement Administrator to ask to speak in Court about the fairness of the settlement. Your request to speak at the hearing must be mailed and postmarked on or before May 15, 2007. The final fairness hearing is set for July 31, 2007, at which time the Court will consider whether to finally approve the settlement and a request by the lawyers representing all Class Members for no more than $2,550,000 in attorney's fees and costs.
  5. Do Nothing
    You will automatically be included in the Settlement Class and give up your right to be part of any other lawsuit about the claims in this case, but you will not be eligible to receive a settlement benefit unless you submit a registration form.

To get complete information about the proposed settlement, the required procedures, the Effective Date, the deadlines, your obligations, and your options, you must visit www.browningsettlement.com. Do not contact the Court.

For more information, please access the official settlement website at www.browningsettlement.com


In your financial life, few things figure as prominently as your credit report and credit score. Learning the basics of the credit report process, and keeping your credit report free of errors, is essential to good financial health. You should focus on improving your credit score as the highest credit scores receive the best interest rates and loan terms. On a mortgage, a difference of 100 points could be worth hundreds of dollars each month.

Since 2005, all Americans have the legal right to obtain a free annual copy of their credit report from TransUnion, Equifax and Experian credit reporting bureaus. This law is intended to help consumers reduce errors in their credit reports by minimizing the obstacles to viewing credit reports. To receive a free credit report visit the official site run by the bureaus: annualcreditreport.com

Your personal credit score is a number from 350-800 which stands for your credit risk. The higher numbers are considered less likely to default. Credit scores come from mathematical formulas that measure many variables in your credit report such as payment history, public records, and debt to income ratio.

The Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (2003) amendment to the FCRA Fair Credit Reporting Act guaranteed all Americans the right to see their credit report once a year to check it for errors. To learn more about free credit, credit scores and financial terminology, visit our glossary page.


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