Published on September 7th, 2019 | by Chuck227
[Update] Equifax Class Action Settlement, “$125” Per Affected Person (More For Those That Incurred Damages)
Update 4 (9/7/19): They are now sending out an email for those who already filed claims that it requires a follow up to verify that you have credit monitoring and are eligible for cash compensation or to switch and request the credit monitoring option. (“You must either verify or amend your claim by October 15, 2019. If you do not, your claim for alternative compensation will be denied. To verify your claim for alternative compensation, you must provide the name of your credit monitoring service that you had in place when you filed your claim. – OR – You can amend your claim to request free credit monitoring instead of alternative compensation.”)
Update 3: See our follow up post: FTC Admits You’re Not Getting Anywhere Near $125 From Settlement.
Update 2: The FTC site is now officially showing the Equifax site listed below as the site for claim (for those who were worried).
Update 1: Claims can now be filed here. Added the link below and updated the post to reflect that it’s now live.
Equifax Class Settlement
In September of 2017, Equifax announced a data breach that exposed the personal information of 147 million people. The company has agreed to a global settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and 50 U.S. states and territories. The settlement includes up to $425 million to help people affected by the data breach.
The settlement seems to offer a minimum of $125 per person, details on that below.
Free Credit Monitoring and Identity Theft Protection Services
- Up to 10 years of free credit monitoring, OR
- $125 if you decide not to enroll because you already have credit monitoring.
The free credit monitoring includes:
- At least four years of free credit 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 credit monitoring of your Equifax credit report.
If you were a minor in May 2017, you are eligible for a total of 18 years of free credit monitoring.
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
- 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
- For the time you spent dealing with the breach. You can be compensated $25 per hour up to 20 hours.
- For the cost of Equifax credit monitoring and related services you had between September 7, 2016, and September 7, 2017, capped at 25 percent of the total amount you paid.
Here are the applicable deadlines:
- File a claim for Out-of-Pocket Losses or Time Spent – January 22, 2020 (for current losses and time); January 22, 2024 (for future losses and time)
- File a claim for Credit Monitoring Services or Alternative Reimbursement Compensation – January 22, 2020
- File a claim for Equifax Subscription Product Reimbursement – January 22, 2020
- Access to Identity Restoration Services – No deadline. Services will be available for at least 7 years
- Exclude yourself from the settlement – November 19, 2019
- Object or comment on the settlement – November 19, 2019
Bear in mind, not everyone is eligible for the settlement; only the 147 million whose data was breached. That’s roughly half of all Americans. Check your eligibility here.
Many of us already have free credit monitoring in place, e.g. from Discover, Credit Karma, etc. So it should/might be possible for us to file a claim for the $125, despite not really having any expenses laid out. If you aren’t subscribed for any credit monitoring services, then technically you aren’t eligible.
You can self-certify the time you spend, up to 10 hours at $25 per hour, for the time you spent dealing with the breach. That’s another $250 on top of the $125 for credit monitoring. Note: this is done under the penalty of perjury. Besides being immoral to lie on such a thing, it’s not worth the risk of perjuring yourself for a few dollars.
[Update: nullstring notes that the terms limit time spent for “Settlement Class Members who spent time on Preventative Measures fairly traceable to the Data Breach.” I’m not sure if things like requesting your credit report or reviewing your Credit Karma are called ‘fairly traceable’. They probably have a history of when you logged in, so it’s ‘traceable’ in that sense, but it might have to be traceable also in that you only did it due to the data breach, e.g. if you only started monitoring your credit since that time out of concern from the breach.]
An oddity here is that the math doesn’t add up: if there’s a pool of $425M and there are 147M people, that leaves around $3 per person, not $125 per person. I guess a lot of people won’t sign up for the settlement, but the $125 figure still doesn’t make sense.
[Update: The FAQ states: If there are more than $31 million claims for Alternative Reimbursement Compensation, all payments for Alternative Reimbursement Compensation will be lowered and distributed on a proportional basis.]