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State files a settlement for $1.3 million with Bellevue info-provider Intelius

Washington’s Attorney General announced today (Aug. 10) it’s reached a $1.3 million settlement with Bellevue-based Intelius, Inc., a net information provider that gathers and sells personal information on people from all over the country.

A press release lists the main points of the settlement, filed in King County Superior Court (in a civil, not a criminal action):

  • The settlement stems from an investigations into how Intelius led consumers into unknowing memberships in its “Identify Protect” program. The investigations say numerous residents and customers unwillingly were enrolled and billed for membership in that program, allegedly which protected them from identity theft.
  • Afffected customers who filed complaints were buying a search record from Intelius but also not aware they were signing up for  monthly payments for the Identity Protect program, according to a press release.
  • The agreement also requires that in the future Intelius make it crystal-clear when they are offered additional service plans or monthly services.

The settlement stems from an investigation into how Intelius led consumers into unknowing memberships in its "Identify Protect" program. The investigations say numerous residents and customers unwillingly were enrolled and billed for membership in that program, allegedly which protected them from identity theft.

Intelius banked on consumer confusion, says Washington Attorney General

Approximately $300,000 of the $1.3 million will be used to recover the state’s litigation costs and monitor the restitution program.

Intelius does not acknowledge wrongdoing in signing the settlement. Anyone who might have signed up for the Identity Protect program can qualify for some redress. To see the conditions, go to the rest of this post (below):

 

Intelius banked on consumer confusion, says Washington Attorney General

Washington consumers are eligible for refunds under the settlement if they 1) enrolled in Identity Protect before Aug. 12, 2009, (the period when the state felt the ads were deceptive), 2) have not received full refunds and 3) have not used any member-enabled benefit.

Intelius will contact eligible consumers by mail and e-mail with instructions on how to submit a claim. The settlement does not apply to consumers in other states or those who purchased memberships from any third-party marketer.




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Tom Sowa
Tom Sowa covers technology, retail and economic development and writes the Office Hours blog.






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