A website has been established to inform Class Members of their rights under a $700 million Equifax data breach class action settlement.
The settlement deal which received preliminary approval on Monday would end claims that Equifax did not sufficiently protect the personal identifying data of nearly 150 million customers and others from a data breach that occurred in 2017.
Of the $700 million settlement, Equifax has agreed to set aside $380.5 million to compensate consumer Class Members. The remainder of the fund will be used to pay for civil penalties and to compensate the 48 states who filed separate lawsuits against Equifax.
The settlement deal does not establish any guilt. Equifax denies any wrongdoing, but has agreed to settle the data breach class action lawsuit to avoid the potential costs and risks of continuing litigation.
According to the Equifax data breach class action settlement website, Class Members are eligible for free credit monitoring or a $125 cash payment, if the Class Member already has credit monitoring services that will continue for at least six more months. In this benefit, four years of three-bureau credit monitoring are offered through Experian, and up to six more years of free one-bureau credit monitoring are offered through Equifax.
Class Members may also be eligible for cash payments up to $20,000, to compensate for the following expenses:
- time spent remedying fraud, identify theft, or misused personal information caused by the data breach, at a rate of $25 per hour up to 20 hours total
- out-of-pocket expenses
- up to 25 percent of the cost of Equifax credit or identity monitoring products paid for in the year before the data breach was announced
- free identity restoration services for at least seven years
The Equifax class action settlement website notes that it will be updated throughout the legal process to provide information on who qualifies as a Class Member eligible for benefits from the settlement.
Numerous Equifax data breach class action lawsuits were filed in 2017 by customers who claimed that a massive data breach at the company exposed the personal identifying information of more than 145 million people. Allegedly, it was the largest data breach involving personal and financial information in U.S. history.
Customers accused Equifax of not having sufficient security in place to protect customer data from the data breach.
Additionally, the customers argued that Equifax did not respond appropriately during and after the breach, by not informing the public about the breach quickly enough, and not implementing sufficient security measures after the breach.
In 2018, news sources reported that the data breach was larger than Equifax had originally communicated to the public, and exposed information including tax identification numbers, email addresses and phone numbers.