How to Get Relief If You Were Harmed by Equifax’s Data Breach
This week, AG Racine announced a historic $600 million multistate settlement with Equifax over its 2017 data breach that exposed the personal information of more than 350,000 District residents and nearly half of the US population. This is the largest data breach settlement in history and it will require Equifax to:
- Offer affected consumers free credit monitoring services for 10 years
- Provide free Identity Theft Restoration services to all affected consumers
- Strengthen its data security practices to help protect against another breach
- Pay up to $425 million into a settlement fund for the benefit of affected consumers
- Pay $175 million to the states, $4 million of which will go to the District of Columbia
- Equifax will take steps to assist consumers:
- with understanding their credit report;
- with disputing inaccurate entries on their credit report, including credit report entries that are the result of identity theft;
- who have become the victim of identity theft or who are concerned about becoming the victim of identity theft; and
- including assisting active duty military members and their families with credit report issues unique to military members.
To find out if you are eligible for relief under the settlement and to submit a claim, visit the Equifax Breach Settlement website at www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com or call 1-833-759-2982 toll-free to learn more. The deadline to file a claim in January 22, 2020.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How do I know if I am covered by the settlement?
Equifax has provided a lookup tool on the settlement website (www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com) that you can use to determine whether you are affected by the data breach. You will be required to input the last 6 digits of your Social Security Number that Equifax will use only to determine whether you are one of the affected consumers.
I am an eligible consumer who wants to make a claim from the settlement fund. How do I make a claim?
You can make a claim through the settlement website (www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com). This is the simplest and quickest way to file a claim. However, you also can request a paper claim form via the settlement website or by calling (1-833-759-2982). The deadline to file all claims is January 22, 2020. Please record your claim number and retain it for future reference.
I am an eligible consumer who wants to make a claim from the settlement fund. What can I request in my claim?
You can request, before January 22, 2020, free credit monitoring and reimbursement for money and time spent addressing the data breach. Specifically, you can:
- Sign up for the free 10 years of credit monitoring that Equifax is offering. It consists of at least 4 years of three bureau credit monitoring that monitors your credit report with Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, followed by up to 6 years of single bureau credit monitoring of your Equifax credit report;
- Request reimbursement for:
- Time spent trying to avoid or recover from identity theft (up to 20 total hours at $25 per hour)
- Money spent trying to avoid or recover from identity theft (such as money paid to freeze or unfreeze your credit report, money paid to a professional for identity theft services, postage, etc.)
- If you do not wish to utilize the offered free 10 years of credit monitoring, you can request reimbursement of up to $125 for what you spent to purchase alternative credit monitoring services.
Also, all affected consumers are eligible to use the free offered Identity Restoration services for seven years. Affected consumers do not need to enroll in this service in order to be able to use it.
When is the deadline to file a claim against the settlement fund?
The deadline is January 22, 2020.
I filed a claim against the settlement fund. How can I find out about the status of the claim?
The settlement administrator will contact you when a decision is made about your claim. Also, you can check the status of your claim at www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com. Please be prepared to enter your claim number that the settlement administrator provided to you when you filed your claim.
I have questions about the Equifax settlement. Where can I get information about the settlement?
You can go to www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com for information about the settlement and to view important documents associated with the settlement. Also, you can call (1-833-759-2982) to obtain information about the settlement. District consumers who have questions that were not answered by the website or toll-free number may contact OAG’s Office of Consumer Protection at 202-442-9828.
I am concerned about identity theft. How can I place a freeze on my credit report?
Credit freezes are free of charge, and in order to place a freeze on your credit report, you must contact each of the major consumer reporting agencies directly and identify yourself to them. A credit freeze prevents companies from viewing your credit report if they are considering granting credit unless you prove to them that you are who you say you are. It can help protect you from identity thieves who are trying to open a credit account in your name. The consumer reporting agencies are not permitted to charge you any fee to place or lift the freeze. You should know that if you plan to apply for credit when you have a freeze in place, there may be a delay in processing your credit application while you request that the credit freeze be lifted. You can find instructions on how to place a credit freeze at: https://oag.dc.gov/consumer-protection/consumer-alert-identity-theft.