January 22 Deadline to File Claim in Equifax SettlementJanuary 16, 2020 | Shari Claire Lewis |
On January 13, 2020, the United States District Court, Northern District of Georgia issued final approval of a settlement of a consumer class action against Equifax for the 2017 data breach that compromised the personal information of 147 million consumers. The settlement includes the establishment of a reimbursement fund of $380.5 million, as well as other benefits, some of which are outlined below.
PLEASE NOTE: If you were affected by Equifax’s data breach, you have until January 22, 2020, to file a claim to be reimbursed for your past out-of-pocket losses, your time spent responding to the breach and the cost of credit monitoring services.
An Official Website available at: https://www.equifaxbreachsettlement.com/ has been set up to process individual settlement claims. It provides information on the settlement, including links to allow individuals to determine whether they were impacted by the Equifax breach, the settlement terms, benefits and deadlines and documents that consumers must submit to assert a claim. The settlement is not being administered by Equifax itself, but by a third party appointed by the Court for that purpose.
Briefly, the settlement provides that individual consumers can receive:
1) Free credit monitoring
a) four years of three-bureau credit monitoring offered by Experian and six more years of one-bureau credit monitoring through Equifax; or,
b) if you already have credit monitoring for at least 6 months, then reimbursement of up to $125 which may be reduced depending on the number of claimants;
2) Other cash payments, of up to $20,000 for
a) compensation for your time spent remedying fraud, identity theft, etc. or other action you needed to undertake in response to the breach, up to 20 total hours at $25 per hour;
b) any additional out-of-pocket losses caused by the breach; and
c) up to 25% of the cost of credit monitoring products paid in the year before the breach; and
3) “Free Identity Restoration Services” which entitles claimants to at least seven years of free services to remedy the effects of identity theft and fraud that result from the Equifax breach.
Consumers had the choice to opt out of this settlement by November 19, 2019. Accordingly, if you did not do so, you will probably still be bound by this settlement, whether or not you make a claim. After the deadline of January 22, 2020, some of the reimbursement benefits will no longer be available, although you may still make a claim for new out-of-pocket losses incurred after that date, so long as the claim is filed by January 22, 2024. There is no deadline to access identity restorative services to remediate the harm to your identity, credit, etc. that was caused by the breach. These restorative services will be available for at least seven years and perhaps more depending on how long the separate settlement fund set aside for those purposes lasts.
Consumers are encouraged to file their claim online, by accessing https://www.equifaxbreachsettlement.com/file-a-claim. Alternatively, the form may be printed and mailed to the Equifax Data Breach Settlement Administrator at the address provided on the site. In either case, you will be required to provide some supporting documentation establishing your claim.
Everyone should take this opportunity to immediately check whether they were impacted by the Equifax breach (if they have not already done so). If so, we encourage you to file your claim under the settlement terms before it is too late to do so.
- Shari Claire Lewis