Final Day to Submit Claim For Your Share of Equifax Data Breach Settlement

You may be eligible for a share of as much as $505.5 million from a settlement which was reached in litigation pertaining to a massive breach of security of sensitive personal data in September of 2017 which impacted the personal information of approximately 147 million people; and if you are one of those people, you must either:

Final Day to Submit Claim For Your Share of Equifax Data Breach Settlement

Today, Wednesday, January 22, 2020 is the final day on which you can submit your claim for your share of the settlement funds.

According to a statement found on page nine of 109 pages of an official document from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia — Atlanta Division, Equifax failed to implement adequate authentication measures to protect the sensitive personal data in its custody from unauthorized access…

…and one of the number of ways Equifax provided insufficient measures to protect the sensitive personal data is by using admin as both a user name and a password.

First, click here to enter your last name and the last six digits to your social security number to see if you are eligible to file a claim.

If you are eligible to file a claim, you have a choice of either of the following:

  • A minimum of four years of your credit being monitored by the three major credit bureaus and offered through Experian — and you can also get up to six additional years of your credit being monitored free of charge by Equifax only:
    • Three-bureau credit monitoring providing notice of changes to your credit report at all three national credit bureaus;
    • Up to $1 million dollars in insurance covering costs related to identity theft or fraud;
    • Real-time notification of credit inquiries and other notifications;
    • On-demand online access to a free copy of one-bureau credit report, updated on a monthly basis;
    • CyberAgent Dark Web Monitoring that monitors internet activity for the trading or selling of your personal information;
    • Customer support provided by Experian; and
    • Many other features which are described here.
  • If you already have credit monitoring services which will continue for at least six more months, you may be eligible for a cash payment of up to $125.00 — and keep in mind that your credit card or charge card may qualify as you already having credit monitoring services as included as part of the benefits of that card, which means you may want to consider the cash payment choice.

Other Cash Payments

In addition to the choice of free credit monitoring services or a cash payment of $125.00, you may also be eligible for the following cash payments of up to a maximum of $20,000.00 for:

  • The time you spent remedying fraud, identity theft, or other misuse of your personal information caused by the data breach — or purchasing credit monitoring or freezing credit reports — up to 20 total hours at $25.00 per hour.
  • Out-of-pocket losses resulting from the data breach.
  • Up to 25 percent of the cost of Equifax credit or identity monitoring products for which you paid in the year prior to the announcement of the data breach.

Free Identity Restoration Services

You are eligible for at least seven years of free assisted identity restoration services to help you remedy the effects of identity theft and fraud.

The Breakdown of the Funds

A minimum of $380.5 million will be paid by Equifax into what is known as a Consumer Restitution Fund — and if it is depleted, Equifax will pay up to an additional $125 million to pay out-of-pocket losses.

The purposes of the Consumer Restitution Fund are to:

  • Make cash payments for out-of-pocket losses and time spent
  • Purchase credit monitoring services
  • Pay cash alternative reimbursement compensation to members of the settlement class who already have their own credit monitoring or identity protection coverage before submitting a claim
  • And more

Summary

Your claim must be submitted by Wednesday, January 22, 2020 as the initial claims period deadline. The extended claims period deadline is Monday, January 22, 2024 in order to receive benefits for losses that occurred after the initial claims period deadline.

You can no longer exclude yourself from the lawsuit, as the deadline for that has passed.

Perhaps my math is incorrect; but $505,000,000.00 divided by 147,000,000 people comes out to almost $3.44 per person — assuming that everyone who qualifies for the settlement class requests payment. I am not sure how anyone will get paid $125.00 — even if every penny became available for qualified members of the settlement who request that option; and even if a significant number of people either choose the free credit monitoring services or to opt out of the settlement altogether to pursue their own lawsuits.

The Federal Trade Commission of the United States confirmed back on Wednesday, July 31, 2019 that you will likely not receive a payment of $125.00 if you opt for cash instead of free monitoring of your credit.

I personally view this settlement as a mere slap on the wrist for Equifax, which should have been substantially more diligent in protecting the sensitive personal data information of as many as 147 million people. The time is overdue when companies need to take complete and full responsibility when a breach of security occurs which opens up innocent people to having their finances, medical information — and their personal identities — seriously compromised.

For additional information, you can either peruse this list of questions which are frequently asked; or you can call 1-833-759-2982; or you can send an e-mail message to info@EquifaxBreachSettlement.com; or you can mail your claim form or request additional information from the following postal mail address:

Equifax Data Breach Settlement Administrator
c/o JND Legal Administration
P.O. Box 91318
Seattle, WA 98111-9418

Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

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