Google plus profile litigation scam - legit or fraud, scam? - Unmasp - experience exhibiting blog

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Google plus profile litigation scam - legit or fraud, scam?



What’s up with that Google Plus lawsuit settlement email? It’s real, but it’s also weird








“You are not being sued.”
Those words should be welcome news for most people, but they’re oddly disconcerting when they appear at the top of an email from Google. That was the reality for many Gmail users this week when an email with the subject line “Notice of Class Action Settlement re Google Plus” appeared in their inboxes.
The strange letter, which did not include a personal greeting, purported to inform users of the now-defunct Google Plus social network that they may be eligible for a cash payment from a lawsuit settlement. But it instantly aroused suspicion, with users taking to TwitterReddit, and other social networks to speculate whether it was some kind of phishing scam. Here’s what’s going on:

IS THIS EMAIL LEGIT?

Yes! A Google spokesperson confirmed with Fast Company that the company sent out the email. The lawsuit from 2018 revolved around a privacy snafu at Google Plus, which has since been shut down. It was settled this year for $7.5 million. All the details are on the website GooglePlusDataLitigation.com. The message came from google-noreply@google.com, which totally sounds like a fake email address, but is in fact real.

BUT THAT WEBSITE LOOKS SKETCHY AND THE LINKS DON’T EVEN WORK

Google confirmed that the settlement website experienced a brief outage, which added to the speculation that it was a scam. If the website looks sketchy, that’s because Google doesn’t run it. It’s managed by a third-party “settlement administration” company called Angeion Group.

HOW MUCH MONEY CAN I GET?

If you received the email, you might be able to claim up to $12, but you waive your right to future litigation in the case. You have until October 8 to file a claim or opt-out. A hearing is planned for November 9.

ALL THIS FOR $12? IS THAT EVEN WORTH IT?

Your call!
Google has settled a class-action lawsuit over its now-shuttered Google Plus social media service, and past users may be eligible for a cash payout from the company.
Google announced on Tuesday that a judge has granted preliminary approval of a $7.5 million settlement, though Google denied any wrongdoing.
The class-action suit was brought by former Google Plus users after two software bugs in 2018 exposed the personal information of hundreds of thousands of users, including names, email addresses, occupations, and ages. A Wall Street Journal investigation in 2018 found that Google had discovered the issue in March of that year, but opted not to publicly disclose it over concerns of "reputational damage" and "immediate regulatory interest," given the scrutiny over Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal around the same time.
As a result of the issues, Google shut down Google Plus for good in April 2019.
The settlement of Google Plus specifies that anyone who had a Google Plus account between January 1, 2015, and April 2, 2019, and had their information exposed as a result of the bug would be eligible for a payment. The settlement excludes anyone who works for Google and anyone involved in the case or their immediate family members.
Claimants will receive a maximum of $12, though the initial payment may only be $5.
In order to receive a payout, you must submit a claim form before October 8, 2020.

If you were a member of Google Plus before it shut down last year, odds are you got an email informing you that a class-action lawsuit against Google has been settled.
Back in 2018, Google+ was delivered a deadly blow when it was discovered that a privacy flaw allowed any third-party developer to obtain private data from any user profile. Within months, the service was preparing to shut down, and as reported by Ars Technica, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Google for their alleged “law approach” to the security of Google+ data.
Tonight, many received an email stating that the Google Plus class-action lawsuit has been settled for a total of $7.5m, an agreement which was originally reached in January of this year, according to Business Insurance. The email goes on to explain who is involved in the lawsuit, who qualifies to make a claim, and how much you can get if you do claim.
Oddly, the links to the official settlement website mentioned multiple times in the body of the email are all broken. However, navigating to the website manually seems to work fine. This, along with the strongly worded subject line, led many online to believe that the email was potentially a fake.

Update 9:45am: This morning, Google was able to confirm to us that the Google Plus Class Action Settlement email is indeed legitimate. Last night, the settlement website experienced a brief outage which prevented the email’s links from working as they should.
We’ve updated the remainder of this article to reflect the legitimacy of the email.



Those who are part of the lawsuit’s class — the full definition is down below, but the short version is anyone with a Google+ account between January 1, 2015 and April 2, 2019 — should be able to go to the listed website and file their claim. If you’re included in that group, you have until October 8 to decide to claim, opt out of the settlement, or file an objection.
The Settlement Class is defined as: “all persons within the United States who (a) had a consumer Google+ account for any period of time between January 1, 2015 and April 2, 2019, and (2) had their non-public Profile Information exposed as a result of the software bugs Google announced on October 8, 2018 and December 10, 2018. Excluded from the Settlement Class are (a) Google and its officers, directors, employees, subsidiaries, and Google Affiliates; (b) all judges and their staffs assigned to this case and any members of their immediate families; (c) the Parties’ counsel in this litigation; and (d) any Excluded Class Member.Knowing that, if you wish to file a claim or opt-out of the Google+ class-action altogether, you should be able to fill out a form on the dedicated settlement website or call the toll-free number listed in the email. According to the email, payments can be sent via PayPal or by digital check.
As for Google Plus itself, the service has finally met its end as of last month, when the remaining G Suite exclusive version was rebranded from Google+ to Google Currents

WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?

It’s all on the settlement website. You can read more about the Google Plus privacy breach here.

A $7.5 million Google class action settlement resolves allegations that the now defunct Google+ social networking platform exposed users’ private profile data to third-parties.
If you had a Google Plus account between Jan. 1, 2015 and April 2, 2019 and had your personal information exposed due to “software bugs” announced on Oct. 8, 2018 and Dec. 10, 2018, you could get up to $12 from this class action settlement.
The Google Plus account class action lawsuit was filed in 2018 after plaintiffs Matt Matic and Zak Harris claimed that their user names, email addresses, interests, relationships, photos and hometowns were exposed in a massive data breach that benefited third-party app developers.
“Although Defendants have reported that only up to 500,000 users were affected, the reality is that this number is what was determined only for the two week period prior to the discovery of the security vulnerability in March 2018. Thus, given that the data leak occurred for nearly 3 years, the number of compromised users is expected to be much higher,” the Google Plus account class action lawsuit states.
The plaintiffs alleged that Google made a “calculated business decision” when they discovered the data leak and chose to hide this information from its Google Plus accountholders and the general public.

Under the terms of the Google Plus account class action settlement, Class Members who file a valid claim form are expected to receive a pro rata share of the settlement fund up to $12.
In addition, the settlement provides $200,000 in attorneys’ fees and $1,500 for each of the Class Representatives.
The settlement did not request any business practice changes because Google decided to shutdown the social media networking platform on April 2, 2019.
According to court documents, Google has denied all the allegations and not only “attacked injuries resulting from its alleged tortious behavior, but also argued the invasion of privacy could not proceed due to lack of intent, no reasonable expectation of privacy, and no breach of social norms.”
However, the Court preliminarily approved the Google Plus account class action settlement on June 10, 2020 after finding it to be “fair, reasonable and adequate, entered into in good faith, free of collusion, and within the range of possible judicial approval.”
Class Members have until Oct. 8, 2020 to either file a claimopt out of the settlement or object to it. 
The final hearing will take place on Nov. 19, 2020.
Who’s Eligible
Class Members include all U.S. residents who had a Google+ account between Jan. 1, 2015, and April 2, 2019, and had their “non-public Profile Information exposed as a result of the software bugs Google announced on October 8, 2018, and December 10, 2018.”
Potential Award
Up to $12. 
According to the Google+ class action settlement, Class Members who file a valid claim form will receive a pro rata share of the fund starting with up to a $5 payment. However, if settlement funds remain after the initial $5 payout, an additional distribution of up to $12 (total) will be paid.
* The settlement also allows for a reduced payout of lower than $5 if the number of claimants exceed what is available in the settlement fund.
Proof of Purchase
Claimants must provide the email address associated with their Google+ account.
Claim Form
NOTE: If you do not qualify for this settlement do NOT file a claim.
Remember: you are submitting your claim under penalty of perjury. You are also harming other eligible Class Members by submitting a fraudulent claim. If you’re unsure if you qualify, please read the FAQ section of the Settlement Administrator’s website to ensure you meet all standards (Top Class Actions is not a Settlement Administrator). If you don’t qualify for this settlement, check out our database of other open class action settlements you may be eligible for.
Claim Form Deadline
10/8/2020
Case Name
In re: Google Plus Profile Litigation, Case No. 5:18-cv-06164, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
Final Hearing
11/19/2020
Settlement Website
Claims Administrator
Google Plus Data Litigation
1650 Arch Street, Suite 2210
Philadelphia, PA, 19103
1-833-509-1101
info@GooglePlusDataLitigation.com
Class Counsel
John A. Yanchunis
Ryan J. McGee
MORGAN & MORGAN COMPLEX LITIGATION GROUP
Clayeo C. Arnold
Joshua H. Watson
CLAYEO C. ARNOLD PROFESSIONAL LAW CORPORATION
Franklin D. Azar
Margeaux R. Azar
FRANKLIN D. AZAR & ASSOCIATES PC
Defense Counsel
Maura Lea Rees
WILSON SONSINI GOODRICH & ROSATI PC

  • Google Plus users can file claims in a class-action lawsuit over the social network’s privacy flaws.
  • You have until October 8 to make a choice if you qualify.
  • Don’t expect more than a $12 payout.

Google Plus may have met an ignominious end due in part to privacy flaws, but you can get some money for your trouble.
Many Google Plus users have been told they can file a settlement claim (via 9to5Google) in a class-action lawsuit over the flaws, which let any developer obtain sensitive data from user profiles. Google was allegedly aware of the issue months before alerting the public, although there doesn’t appear to have been misuse.
You’ll qualify if you’re a US resident who had a personal Google Plus account at any point between January 1, 2015 and the service’s shutdown on April 2, 2019. While the claims are officially limited to people whose data was exposed, that effectively covers all users due to the nature of the bugs.
You have until October 8 to make a claim, opt out entirely, or raise an objection over the terms of the settlement.
Like with many class-action cases, you shouldn’t expect a large payout relative to the damage done. The $7.5 million settlement will only pay a maximum of $12 per person, and then only for roughly 450,000 people. The per-person amount will decrease if more people file claims. It’s more a symbolic payout than practical compensation.
This isn’t likely what you were looking for if Google Plus’ privacy issues created genuine stress, even though there was no direct damage. It also won’t affect business users, who moved on to a G Suite version and eventually Google Currents. It does provide some closure to the social media saga, though, and it serves as a reminder that Google’s privacy issues can have long-term consequences.

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