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The Equifax data-breach lawsuit has settled and there is a high chance that you are eligible for at least $125 in compensation. Filing a claim is quick and easy so keep reading below if you’re interested in claiming what you might be entitled to.
“We at Equifax clearly understood that the collection of American consumer information and data carries with it enormous responsibility to protect that data. We did not live up to that responsibility.” — Richard F. Smith, Equifax’s former Chief Executive Officer October 3, 2017
The Equifax lawsuit
In September 2017, after months of being shady and covering it up, Equifax announced that it had been the victim of a criminal cyberattack and that the attackers gained unauthorized access to the personal information of 147 million U.S. consumers. This is almost 50% of the country so you have pretty good odds that you were affected by this breach.
This information stolen included:
- People’s names
- Social Security numbers
- Birth dates
- Driver’s license numbers
- Credit card numbers
- And other personal information.
As a result of the breach, a lawsuit was brought In re: Equifax Inc. Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, Case No. 1:17-md-2800-TWT. If you’re interested in seeing the (99-count) legal complaint, you can find it here. If you have questions you can call the Settlement Administrator toll-free at 1-833-759-2982.
Are you eligible for the Equifax lawsuit?
- You can check to see if you’re eligible for the Equifax lawsuit here (just enter your last name and last six digits of your SSN).
When using the link above, if you have gone by more than one last name (for example, a maiden name and a married name), make sure that you check all of your last names.
Filing a claim
- If you are eligible go here to file your claim.
It will not take long at all to complete the form. The first page is basic contact info and then you’ll be able to select your damages.
On the damages page, you’ll have the option to choose from the following:
You can receive free, three-bureau credit monitoring at all three national credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). Experian will provide this service for at least 4 years. You can also enroll in free, single-bureau credit monitoring of your Equifax credit file, provided by Equifax, for up to 6 years after the Experian service ends.
Or, if you have credit monitoring services that you will keep for at least 6 months, you can request a cash payment of $125. Most people on UponArriving probably already have credit monitoring set up so they’ll be able to request the $125 option. (If you select this option, you cannot also enroll in the free, three-bureau credit monitoring service offered through this Settlement.)
If you spent time trying to recover from fraud or identity theft caused by the data breach, or if you spent time trying to avoid fraud or identity theft because of the data breach (for example, placing or removing credit freezes on your credit files or purchasing credit monitoring services), you can be compensated $25 per hour for up to 20 hours.
- If you claim 10 hours or less, you must describe the actions you took in response to the data breach and the time each action took.
- If you claim more than 10 hours total, you must describe the actions you took in response to the data breach and include supporting documents showing fraud, identity theft, or other misuse of your personal information.
If you spent time trying to protect yourself, this is an easy way to tack on extra damages without having to supply any real proof (but don’t get greedy and just be honest). You will need to provide the approximate month and year and explain the time spent in response to the data breach but that’s it if you’re claiming 10 hours or less (many are claiming around 2 to 3 hours which seems very reasonable).
If you lost or spent money trying to prevent or recover from fraud or identity theft caused by the Equifax data breach and have not been reimbursed for that money, you can receive reimbursement for up to $20,000 total. It is important for you to send documents that show what happened and how much you lost or spent, so that you can be repaid. For more on this option, visit the FAQs.
Choose your payment
If you made a claim for a cash payment in this claim form, you can elect to receive your payment either by check or pre-paid card to your mailing address. Be sure to finalize your claim and that you get a claim number for your claim.
Note: 12/19/2019 is the date of the Court’s final approval hearing, when it will determine whether to approve the settlement. No settlement benefits will be distributed or available until after the Court finally approves the settlement.
It won’t take you very long at all to fill out your form and I think anyone affected should file a claim because things are starting to get very old when it comes to data breaches and I think it helps to send a louder message when more people get involved in lawsuits like this.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the digital smart wallet, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. His content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.