Equifax Data Breach: You May Be Eligible to Claim $125

If you were affected by the Equifax data breach, you can file a claim to recover money and receive free services as part of a class-action lawsuit.

Gregory Andersen
Managing Editor at Tally

If you were one of the 147 million people who had their data exposed in the Equifax data breach in September 2017, you can now submit a claim to recover money you spent or lost as a result of the hack.

A federal court is currently considering a class-action settlement that would resolve the lawsuits filed by people who were affected by the data breach. Equifax, however, maintains its innocence. 

In the breach, hackers stole Social Security numbers, home addresses, credit card information and other personal data that was stored on Equifax servers.

Equifax has already agreed to pay at least $575 million to the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and states related to the massive breach, according to CNET, and could eventually pay up to $700 million. A report on the breach from the House Oversight Committee said the breach was “entirely preventable” and noted that the credit reporting agency didn’t take action to prevent it.

While the court considers the settlement, the first thing you can do is check to see if your information was compromised. Don’t worry: This website is operated by the Settlement Administrator, not Equifax! If your data was compromised, you’re eligible to submit a claim.

What you could recover with your claim

No claims will be fulfilled until the court approves the final settlement, but there are three benefits available:

1. Free credit monitoring or $125

You may be eligible for 4 years of free credit-monitoring services through Experian. If you already have a similar service, you could get a cash payment of $125.

Deadline to file a claim: January 22, 2020

2. Additional damages up to $20,000

If you had out-of-pocket losses as a result of the breach, you may be eligible for additional money. This includes the time you spent remedying fraud or identity theft, as well as the time spent on purchasing credit monitoring or freezing credit reports — up to 20 hours at $25 per hour.

Deadline to file a claim: January 22, 2020 (for current losses and time); January 22, 2024 (for future losses and time)

You can even recover up to 25% of the cost spent on Equifax credit or identity monitoring products that you purchased in the year before the 2017 breach announcement.

Deadline to file a claim: January 22, 2020

3. Free identity restoration services

You’re eligible for at least 7 years of assisted identity restoration services, all for free, to correct any lingering effects of identity theft or fraud.

Deadline to file a claim: No deadline. Services available for a minimum of 7 years.

Would you rather not file a claim?

You can contact the Settlement Administrator to opt out of the settlement. This is the only option that will allow you to retain your rights to separately sue Equifax for the data breach.

You can also object to the settlement in writing and explain to the court why you believe the settlement should not be approved. If you object, you will still be a “Settlement Class Member” and remain eligible for the benefits of a settlement.

Lastly, you can do nothing. The identity restoration services will still be available to you, but you won’t be entitled to any of the benefits under the settlement and will forfeit your right to sue Equifax separately for the data breach.

More questions? Check out the official settlement website for the Equifax data breach. Remember: That website is not operated by Equifax.