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Equifax Data Breach Settlement: What You Should Know

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In September of 2017, Equifax announced a data breach that exposed the personal information of 147 million people. Under a settlement filed today, Equifax agreed to spend up to $425 million to help people affected by the data breach. If you were affected by the Equifax breach, you can't file a claim just yet. That's coming. But you can sign up for FTC email alerts about the settlement at ftc.gov/Equifax.

(Not sure that you were affected? The breach claims site will have a tool to let you check. Sign up for an FTC email update to find out when that tool is up and running.)

ftc.gov/equifax

Here’s what you need to know about the settlement.

Benefits Available To You

If you were affected by the breach, you may be eligible for benefits.

1. Free Credit Monitoring or Cash Payment

You can get at least 4 years of free credit monitoring of your credit report at all three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). On top of that, you can get up to 6 more years of free credit monitoring of your Equifax credit report. That’s a total of 10 years of free credit monitoring. (Minors affected by the breach are eligible for even more free credit monitoring.)

If you have credit monitoring that will continue for at least 6 months and you decide not to enroll in the free credit monitoring offered in the settlement, you may be eligible for a cash payment. The amount you’d get will depend on the number of claims filed.

2. Reimbursement for Your Time and Other Cash Payments

You may be eligible for reimbursement and cash payments up to $20,000 for:

  • time you spent protecting your identity or recovering from identity theft, up to 20 hours at $25 per hour
  • money you spent protecting your identity or recovering from identity theft, like the cost of freezing or unfreezing your credit report or unauthorized charges to your accounts
  • up to 25% of the cost of Equifax credit monitoring or identity protection products you bought between September 7, 2016 and September 7, 2017

3. Free Identity Restoration Services

You are eligible for free identity restoration services for at least 7 years that you can use if someone steals your identity or you experience fraud.

Next Steps

The claims process will start after court approval. To learn more about the settlement, go to ftc.gov/Equifax. We’ll update that page when there’s new information.

You can also sign up to get FTC email updates about this settlement.

If you were affected by the breach, you may also receive an email notification after the court approves the settlement. The notification will provide more information about the settlement, the benefits available to people impacted, and how to request the services offered under the settlement.

ftc.gov/equifax

This blog post was updated on August 1, 2019.

Comments

Thank you for responding, and I appreciate all of the information you've been providing in response to the various comments. However, I went to the website you recommended, and most of the linked sites, and all I could find was that compensation was available for "time dealing with the breach" - there were no examples given.

The settlement option 1 is very misleading. It's telling people they can get monitoring OR a $125 cash payment which is not the case. You should be able to chose the cash payment even if you DONT get monitoring within 6 months. If your name comes up on the breach website with your last name and last 6 digits of SS number your affected.

You can file a claim for free credit monitoring if you don't have free credit monitoring now. If you already have credit monitoring, you can file a claim for $125.

If you were affected by the breach and you paid expenses as a result of the breach, or spent time dealing with the breach, or paid for Equifax credit monitoring and related services between 9/7/16 and 9/7/17, you can file a claim for cash payments.

Go to www.FTC.gov/Equifax to learn more.

I'm one of the victims of the negligence of Equifax. The settlement has victimized the victims again. What happens after 10 years, my ssn, birthdate, name, etc will not change but Equifax will be laughing all the way to the bank because they are off the hook. The Ag's have sold us out, shame on you. I will for the rest of my life have my credit frozen and will have to go through the hassle of lifting and re-setting the freeze every time I want to get credit, Equifax will have to do nothing but sell my information. This settlement should not move forward unless Equifax agrees to monitor the victims that they negligently allowed to be hacked, for their life.

hi! I confirmed that I was affected by the Equifax data breach but it happened so long ago i can't remember how i was impacted by this breach. How can i go about finding this information so i can submit an accurate claim?

Go to www.FTC.gov/Equifax for a link to the tool that will check if you were affected.

My husband passed away in 2017 but it shows his social security was affected. would I be able to claim the $125 on his behalf??

A person can file a claim for free credit monitoring OR $125 if they have credit monitoring on their credit file now. The FTC has more information at www.FTC.gov/Equifax.

The claim site is www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com. There are questions and answers on the settlement website with more information.

By accepting the cash payout, what legal obligations am I letting Equifax out of if my information is used in the future? Would I get assistance in the future? Would Equifax help recover any funds lost and for how long?

You can read more about the settlement at www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com. There are questions and answers, key dates and more information on that website.

The FTC has information at www.FTC.gov/Equifax.

I clicked on the link for the lookup tool, directed to eligibility.equifaxbreachsettlement.com, and asked to submit my last name and the last 6 numbers of my social security number. That’s 2/3 of my social security number!! I feel incredibly uncomfortable with that. Is this legit?

What about the fact I had no way to get help due to lack of info and just could not get a loan and could not see my credit, denied access by bureaus. I have been told I've been affected but I couldn't get anything done. What about lost opportunities?

People who were affected by the breach can file a claim for cash payments for the time they spend dealing with the breach. They can get $25 per hour for up to 20 hours of their time. Go to www.FTC.gov/Equifax to read about this:

  • If you submit a claim for 10 hours or less, you must describe the actions you took and the time you spent doing those things.
  • If you claim more than 10 hours, you must describe the actions you took AND provide documents that show identity theft, fraud, or other misuse of your information.

So I used the tool and learned I was affected. My last name changed since then. How do you recommend I proceed?

People who were affected by the breach can file a claim for free credit monitoring, identity theft protection services and cash payments. Go to www.FTC.gov/Equifax for more information about filing a claim. You can file a claim at www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com.

Where can I find what credit monitoring covers? I would like to know what they do and what I have to do.

The settlement says people who were affected by the breach can file a claim for up to 10 years of free credit monitoring. Are you asking about that free credit monitoring or something else?

Now that I know my information was breached, am I able to sign up for identity theft protection and then file a claim for the $125?

Go to www.FTC.gov/Equifax to read about the settlement.

How long will it take to get the 125$ check?

When I clicked on finding out if my information was breached, it asked for the last 6 digits of my SSN. I’ve never had to give out more than 4 digits so I’m a little leery about doing it.

So im supposed to trust Equifax to tell me if my identity and information was breached? That's truly remarkable.

What is the turnaround time between filing a claim & receiving my check?

The settlement administrator will not send out any benefits until they are allowed to do so by the court, which will be January 23, 2020, at the earliest. Learn more at www.FTC.gov/Equifax.

Are you eligible to file if so far no impact on being exposed?

If your information was exposed in the data breach, you can file a claim at EquifaxBreachSettlement.com. Learn more at www.FTC.gov/Equifax.

What about those who do not trust the credit monitors and therfore do not have credit monitoring at all?

My spouse was affected so it affects me too, can I file a claim?

If your spouse's information was exposed, your spouse can file a claim.

You can file a claim if your information was exposed in the data breach. Go to www.FTC.gov/Equifax to learn more.

 

So 147 million are hacked, and the settlement is up to $425 million. That is $2.89 max per person affected. Will the free credit monitoring choice include free services if fraudulent activity is spotted, or will I only acquire free finger pointing?

Go to www.FTC.gov/Equifax to learn about what is available for people who experience identity theft.

The lookup tool says my info was breached. If I file for the free credit monitoring now and later on I learn that my SS number has been used by thieves to get loans, can I then be reimbursed for the time and cost to straighten it out? Or does filing a claim now absolve Equifax from future responsibility?

If you were affected by the breach, you may file a claim for free credit monitoring and identity theft protection services or cash payments (capped at $20,000 per person). Learn more at www.FTC.gov/Equifax.

Your tool says I was affected by the breach and that I have to prove to you with document the fraud! How can I do that if you have that information and I was totally unaware of the facts and still am - now what do I do I want to claim the $$ but I have no information to give you - you have it all!!!

Please go to www.FTC.gov/Equifax for detailed information.

If you were affected by the breach, you may file a claim for free credit monitoring and identity theft protection services, or for $125 if you decide not to enroll because you already have credit monitoring.

You may file a claim for cash payments, capped at $20,000 per person, for expenses you paid as a result of the breach, like losses from unauthorized charges to your accounts or the cost of freezing or unfreezing your credit report.

You may file a claim for cash payments, for the time you spent dealing with the breach. You can be compensated $25 per hour up to 20 hours.  If you submit a claim for 10 hours or less, you must describe the actions you took and the time you spent doing those things.

you can file the claim for $125 without providing documentation. you need documentation to file a claim for more compensation than that.

I have several hours invested in contacting my banks, going to locations to dispute charges, and following up on these disputed charges that are in conjunction with this breach, it totals about 8 hours in total. would these hours qualify for the repayment or not?

A person who was affected by the breach can submit a claim for a cash payment for the time they spent dealing with the breach. They can be compensated for up to 20 hours of their time.

If you make a claim for less than 10 hours, you have to describe what you did to deal with the breach and how much time you spent doing that. The claim site www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com has more information for people who file claims. The frequently asked questions page has information about cash payment for time spent.

The agreement calls for Equifax to provide consumers with six free credit reports each year for seven years beginning in January 2020, according to the Federal Trade Commission’s announcement of the resolution. That would be in addition to the one free annual report that consumers are entitled to from each of the nationwide credit-reporting firms.
How do you request additional six credit reports?

I was one of those people affected by the breach, but already pay an annual fee for credit monitoring, which I've done for many years. Will I now be able to sign up for the FREE monitoring going forward and not have to keep paying for it for 10 years ?

If you were affected by the breach, you can file a claim for up to 10 years of free credit monitoring. Go to www.FTC.gov/Equifax to read about what is included in the free credit monitoring.

What is the timeframe for refund checks

The settlement administrator will not send out any benefits until they are allowed to do so by the court, which will be January 23, 2020, at the earliest.

See I know I would need to apply for the long way the 20,000 but can't find the documents I have been sick moved around a lot so what happens to me

How do I find out if I was affected?

  You can use this look-up tool to see if you were affected.

How do I find out if I was affected?

If I was affected by the breach, do not currently have credit monitoring and do not want to enroll any credit monitoring service, does that mean that I do not qualify for the measly $125 settlement?

Go to www.FTC.gov/Equifax to learn about the other benefits available under the settlement.

How can I write to the court to protest/complain about this proposed settlement?

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