In September of 2017, Equifax announced it experienced a data breach, which impacted the personal information of approximately 147 million people. A class action lawsuit was soon filed after that. A federal court is considering a proposed class action settlement submitted on July 22, 2019, that, if approved by the Court, would resolve lawsuits brought by consumers after the data breach. Equifax denies any wrongdoing, and no judgment or finding of wrongdoing has been made. I already wrote about this a few days ago, but now the settlement website is up and running and you can already file your claims online. Most people should qualify for a $125 settlement check through this Equifax settlement, but you can get as much as $20,000 if you add enough time spent and out of pocket losses related to the data breach. Keep in mind that these payout could be lower, depending on the number of people that file claims.
You are a Equifax Settlement Class Member if you are among the approximately 147 million U.S. consumers identified by Equifax whose personal information was impacted by the Equifax Data Breach. You can confirm you are a Settlement Class Member, and eligible for benefits, by:
- Going here; or
- Calling the Settlement Administrator toll-free at 1-833-759-2982.
Excluded from the settlement are:
- Officers and directors of Equifax;
- The presiding judge and any judicial staff involved in the lawsuit; and
- Any Class Member who opts-out
What Does the Settlement Provide?
Equifax will pay at least $380,500,000 into a Consumer Restitution Fund. If the Consumer Restitution Fund is used up, Equifax will pay up to an additional $125,000,000 for Out-of-Pocket Losses. The Consumer Restitution Fund will be used to:
- Make cash payments for Out-of-Pocket Losses and Time Spent
- Purchase Credit Monitoring Services
- Pay cash Alternative Reimbursement Compensation to Settlement Class Members who already have their own credit monitoring or identity protection coverage before making a claim
- Make cash payments for Subscription Product Reimbursement;
- Purchase Restoration Services for all Settlement Class Members, regardless of whether they make a claim
- Pay the costs of notifying Settlement Class Members and administering the settlement;
- Pay service awards to the Settlement Class Representatives, as approved by the Court
- Attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses, as approved by the Court
How Much Do I Get?
Settlement Benefit: Cash Alternative Reimbursement Compensation:
If you already have some other kind of credit monitoring or protection services, and do not claim the free Credit Monitoring Services available through the settlement, you may file a claim for Alternative Reimbursement Compensation for up to $125. To claim Alternative Reimbursement Compensation you must certify that you have some form of credit monitoring or protection services on the date you submit your claim form and that you will keep those services for a minimum of six (6) months.
You should keep in mind that:
- The deadline for all claims for Alternative Reimbursement Compensation is 01/22/2020.
- If you claim Alternative Reimbursement Compensation, you cannot claim free Credit Monitoring Services.
- If you claim Alternative Reimbursement Compensation, you cannot also seek reimbursement for purchasing credit monitoring or protection services covering the 6 month period after you make your claim. However, you can still make other claims for Time Spent or Out-of-Pocket Losses.
- If there are more than $31 million claims for Alternative Reimbursement Compensation, all payments for Alternative Reimbursement Compensation will be lowered and distributed on a proportional basis.
Settlement Benefit: Cash Payment for Time Spent:
If you spent time (i) dealing with fraud, identity theft, or other alleged misuse of your personal information that is fairly traceable to the Data Breach, or (ii) taking preventative measures (time placing or removing security freezes on your credit report, or purchasing credit monitoring or identity protection) that are fairly traceable to the Data Breach, then you may make a claim for reimbursement for $25 per hour for up to 20 hours.
You may receive reimbursement for up to 10 hours at $25 per hour by providing a description of (i) the actions taken in response to the Data Breach in dealing with misuse of your information or taking preventative measures and (ii) the time associated with those actions. You must certify that the description is truthful. Valid claims for Time Spent will be reimbursed in 15-minute increments. There’s a minimum reimbursement of 1 hour per claim.
To claim reimbursement of more than 10 hours of Time Spent during the Initial Claims Period, you must also provide reasonable documentation of fraud, identity theft, or other alleged misuse of your personal information fairly traceable to the Data Breach (i.e., letter from IRS or bank or police report).
If there are more than $31 million in claims for Time Spent during the Initial Claims Period, all payments for Time Spent will be reduced and distributed on a proportional basis. Certain claims for Time Spent may also be made during the Extended Claims Period, up to a total cap of Time Spent during the Initial and Extended Claims Periods of $38 million in claims.
The deadline to file a claim for time you have already spent as a result of the Data Breach is 01/22/2020. The deadline to file eligible claims for time you spend in the future as a result of the Data Breach is 01/22/2024.
Settlement Benefit: Payment for Unreimbursed Out-of-Pocket Losses:
If you spent money to deal with fraud or identity theft that was fairly traceable to the Data Breach, or to protect yourself from future harm, then you can submit a claim for reimbursement up to $20,000 (including your claim for Time Spent). Out-of-Pocket Losses that are eligible for reimbursement may include, without limitation, the following:
- Money spent on or after September 7, 2017, associated with placing or removing a security freeze on your credit report with any credit reporting agency;
- Credit monitoring or identity theft protection costs you paid on or after September 7, 2017;
- Unreimbursed costs, expenses, losses or charges you paid on or after May 13, 2017, because of identity theft or identity fraud, falsified tax returns, or other alleged misuse of your personal information;
- Other miscellaneous expenses related to any Out-Of-Pocket Loss such as notary, fax, postage, copying, mileage, and long-distance telephone charges;
- Professional fees incurred in connection with addressing identity theft, fraud, or falsified tax returns; and
- Up to 25% reimbursement of the money you paid for Equifax credit monitoring or identity theft protection subscription products between September 7, 2016 and September 7, 2017.
This list provides examples only. Other losses or costs fairly traceable to the Data Breach may also be eligible for reimbursement. If you have questions, please call the Equifax Settlement Administrator at 1-833-759-2982.
The Equifax Settlement Administrator will decide if your claim for Out-Of-Pocket Losses is valid. Only valid claims will be paid. The deadline to file a claim for Out-of-Pocket Losses you have already had is 01/22/2020. Losses in the future as a result of the Data Breach may be made during the Extended Claims Period. The deadline to file those claims is 01/22/2024.
This Equifax data breach was one of the biggest we have ever seen. It affected 147 million people, which is most of the adults in the country. If you file a claim and do not want the free credit protection, you can get $125. Most people should be eligible for this. You get more time spent ($25 per hour) and costs due to data breach. Total compensation per person has been capped at $20,000.
As I mentioned above, the payout we will all get will depend on the number of claims that are filed. The total money available for this Equifax Settlement is about $500 million.
Equifax Settlement Details
- File claim here
- Rebate: $125 or more
- Proof of Purchase Required: Yes, for time and expenses incurred
- Settlement Pool: $380,500,000
- Filing Deadline: 10/22/2020 or 10/22/2024 for future losses and time
- Read Settlement Details Here