Claim Money From Equifax Data Breach Settlement

Filed Under: Misc.

Update: It has now been confirmed that people will get nowhere close to $125.

In September 2017 Equifax had a massive data breach that exposed the personal information of about 147 million Americans (that’s almost half of Americans).

The company agreed to a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the 50 US states and territories.

The settlement includes up to $425 million to help those impacted by the data breach. You can now request to get your share of that.

Were you impacted by the Equifax data breach?

If you want to see if you were impacted by the Equifax data breach, you can visit this page and enter your last name along with the last six digits of your social security number.

What are you entitled to?

Assuming you’ve been impacted by the breach, you’re potentially eligible for a few things:

10 years credit monitoring or up to $125

You are entitled to either 10 years of free credit monitoring or up to $125 if you decide not to enroll because you already have credit monitoring. They’re a bit ambiguous regarding the cash pay out. In some cases they refer to $125 specifically, while in other cases they say “up to $125.”

The free credit monitoring includes:

  • At least four years of free monitoring of your credit report at all three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) and $1,000,000 of identity theft insurance
  • Up to six more years of free monitoring of your Equifax credit report

Additional cash payment for expenses incurred

You’re also entitled to cash payments of up to $20,000 per person resulting from the breach, including:

  • Losses from unauthorized charges to your accounts
  • The cost of freezing or unfreezing your credit report
  • The cost of credit monitoring
  • Fees you paid to professionals like an accountant or attorney
  • Other expenses like notary fees, document shipping fees and postage, mileage, and phone charges

Additional cash payment for time spent on breach

You can also receive cash for the time you spent dealing with the breach. You can be compensated $25 per hour for 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
  • 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

How do you file a claim?

The process of filing a claim is easy. Just follow this link, where you’ll have to share a basic amount of personal information.

You’ll have to choose if you want to receive free credit monitoring or $125, and you’ll also have to state if you incurred any expenses or spent any time as a result of this. You’ll also have to select whether you want to receive a check or pre-paid debit card.

You have until January 22, 2020, to file a claim.

When will you be compensated?

The settlement administrator won’t send out any benefits until they’re allowed to do so by the court, which will be no earlier than January 23, 2020.

Will you actually receive $125?

I was impacted by this breach and have gone ahead and filed. I’m not claiming I incurred any expenses or wasted any time on this, but I will take my share of whatever the general cash settlement is from the breach.

The $125 amount is confusing, though. If the settlement was for $425 million and 147 million people were impacted, that would leave less than $3 per person. That’s not even accounting for them reimbursing expenses that were incurred, as well as time spent on this.

Obviously not everyone will take part in the settlement, though there’s still quite a disconnect there.

If they were just taking a certain amount and dividing it by however many people choose to participate, you’d think they’d phrase it that way. But that’s not what’s happening.

I’m not putting too much thought into this, though. I participated and it took just a couple of minutes — if I get a check early next year, awesome. Whether that’s for a couple of bucks or $125 remains to be seen. The box I click said “I want a cash payment of $125,” though I’m not confident that’s necessarily what I’ll get.

Are you taking part in the Equifax data breach settlement? What’s your take on how much we’ll actually get?

Comments
  1. Yes let’s just give the company that already grossly mismanaged our personal information even more personal information

    Makes perfect sense

    And yeah you’ll get somewhere between $3 and $17

    Not worth the time

  2. Here is the answer on the $125 (from Section IX.C.2. of the settlement agreement). TLDR version: if too many people request it, then everyone gets a smaller amount.

    No more than Thirty-One Million Dollars ($31,000,000) shall be used
    to pay Alternative Reimbursement Compensation (the “Alternative
    Reimbursement Compensation Cap”). To the extent valid claims for
    Alternative Reimbursement Compensation exceed the Alternative
    Reimbursement Compensation Cap, then payments for valid
    Alternative Reimbursement Compensation claims shall be reduced on
    a pro rata basis.”

  3. What happens when I take the table scraps the lawyers left behind and in year 11 my compromised info is finally used by an identity thief. It’s going to take a long for the hackers to sell off personal info for 145 million people.

  4. @ Ben — What a joke. Equifax and its executives should be bankrupted, but instead I suppose they will receive huge bonuses for reaching this ridiculous, insulting settlement.

  5. I guess our personal data is only worth $15…

    Though Google and Facebook put a value much higher…

  6. Well this is interesting. I started to subscribe to Experian as a result of this identify theft and even renewed it recently. As part of the settlement, it is required I provide a receipt/statement for credit-monitoring services. There is no receipt/statement in my Experian account. I therefore go into my email inbox and I am surprised to see that though they sent a welcome email, they never actually sent a receipt, no email mentioning amount.

    I therefore call them and tell me that they do not issue receipts for subscription payments! No receipts, no statements nothing. I found this hard to believe so asked for a supervisor and they said the same thing. He was happy to speak to the charges incurred over the phone but he said he cannot issue receipts/statements, nor send an email confirming payments made nor send an email stating we do not issue receipts/statements.

  7. “I certify that I have credit monitoring and will have it for at least 6 months from today.” What does this actually mean, legally? Do I really need to have credit monitoring in order to choose the cash?

  8. If it’s like @MC says and only $31m is going to be doled out for 147m people (granted more than half probably won’t even bother filing), at what point does it become worth it to just take the free credit monitoring?

    Doesn’t each bureau charge $19.99+ per month for this?

  9. @Lucky – not all of us that have a Social Security Number are Americans. Some of us are filthy foreigners that are only here for the beer and bacon.

  10. @JJ – There’s not really a choice here. If you don’t already have credit monitoring, you can’t take the cash. This, plus a low overall claim rate (likely well under 10%), explains why it’s not completely unreasonable to think the cash payouts might actually be close to $125 despite the small pot of money available for these types of claims.

  11. Thanks for providing this information to your readers. It saved me a lot of time trying to find the website to apply.

  12. I too would like to know if using credit karma counts as credit monitoring? (I mean, they don’t ask for proof anyway, but that would be truthful). I would obviously much rather get a cash payout rather than the free credit-monitoring.

  13. I use Credit Karma too. They do have you agree that someone may request more info tho, so perhaps that is when they’ll request that info. But if you opt for the cash payout, And you sign it “true to your knowledge” with the assumption that Credit Karma counts, I mean, you can’t really go wrong, right?
    And… What IF your KIDS are affected? My toddler was…?

  14. I could sell my own data and make more money than what I would get from this settlement. They should have been completely dismantled from the top down. The Wikipedia definition of Equifax should read something like “…ceased all operations in 2017 after largest data breach in US history…”

  15. So they are going to pick who gets paid and who doesnt. That bullshit. I think that everybody that was impacted by this breach should get money!

  16. I thought just to check whether you are affected you have to sign your rights to an individual claim away? I assume I am affected and I don’t want to give an inch on this.

  17. @Katy, in any class action settlement, you waive the right to pursue an individual claim if you accept payout from the class settlement. If you truly intend to hire counsel and pursue an individual claim, then don’t accept the money — and see what the statute of limitations is on bringing a claim. If you don’t have a legitimate claim to have lost more than a few hundred thousand dollars, though, it will not be cost effective to pursue an individual claim. Costs of litigation will swamp any recovery very quickly.

  18. I have been paying monthly for the full three-bureau Experian monitoring and was thinking about cancelling it because it costs about $25 a month and I have free credit monitoring (albeit not as robust) from at least two other sources. I figure it makes sense to take the free monitoring. I’m assuming / hoping Experian will provide that even though I will have previously canceled the paid service. The settlement papers are not clear about that. What would be even better is for Experian to simply stop charging me monthly after the settlement goes through, but I highly doubt that would happen. Thoughts on this? The $ value of the multiple years of monitoring is worth way more than $125, which no one is guaranteed to get. This settlement is being so widely publicized (5 people in my office alone already submitted claims for the $125) that it’s virtually certain more than 250,000-ish people will claim that and therefor reduce what everyone actually gets. The monitoring is great for the $25 a month, so just getting it free for 5 months would be equal to the cash payout if you got it, and the three-bureau monitoring is for 4 YEARS. The main thing I have to check is to see when I signed up for that paid monitoring because if it’s after September 2017 (I think I did sign up because of the breach, or I started it earlier and decided to keep it after learning of the breach), then I can claim all of those monthly payments back. That would be good.

  19. Because this is being treated as an Opt-In class under federal rule of civil procedure 23(e), for anyone interested. No one opts in.

  20. “This, plus a low overall claim rate (likely well under 10%), explains why it’s not completely unreasonable to think the cash payouts might actually be close to $125 despite the small pot of money available for these types of claims.” – except politicians like AOC are running around and tweeting to people to take the money, so chances are payouts will be nowhere close to $125 since most her supporters are going to opt for the cash even though they are not supposed to if they don’t have credit monitoring.

  21. @Bill, your right, i saw the same tweet. But i have a quick question, it clearly states you have to have credit monitoring service. So what if you don’t? How do they weed those ppl out & deny them a payment? And if they do give those same ppl a payment do they get sued or penalized later like when you owe irs taxes?im just curious as to how or what they’d do to those dishonest folks we all know are gonna try & take cash instead. I personally think they have no right to give exceptions to the settlements & it should be WAY more then that chump change. They should be ashamed of themselves.

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