Two billion dollars sure does sound like a lot of money for a class action lawsuit, but when you are a major credit reporting agency whose negligence compromised over 147 million people’s personal information? It’s really not.  Click here to file a claim free, online, if you were a potential victim of the massive Equifax breach.

After months of dragged-out settlement drama, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia (Atlanta Division) approved Equifax’s class action settlement amount earlier this week.  In the settlement, victims will receive either six months of free credit monitoring, or $125 (paid via check or prepaid card), plus up to $20,000 in compensation for time and/or expenses spent handling the fallout from the breach.

Let’s take a look at the Equifax data breach timeline to see how the courts got to this settlement decision:

  • September 2017: Breach announced by Equifax
  • March 2018: A Staff Report from the United States Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations was released, naming negligence on Equifax’s part as the reason for the breach
  • July 2019: Equifax announced a settlement amount of up to $700M for charges brought upon them by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and 50 states, including ONLY $31M for payments to the victims (six months of free credit reporting or $125 + expenses).
  • Later July 2019: The FTC warned that the $31M pot most likely wouldn’t cover the damages
  • September 2019: More than 200,000 people signed a petition to make Equifax pay more to the affected people.

Fortunately the petition worked.  Equifax went back to the old drawing board and the following settlement was finally agreed upon, with only 388 of the 147,000,000 objecting:

  • $380,500,000: The amount Equifax will pay into a fund for:
    • Class action benefits*
    • Attorneys’ fees ($80 million!!)
    • Expenses
    • Service Awards
    • Administration Costs
  • *$125,000,000: If the $380M isn’t enough, Equifax must pay this amount for victims’ losses, PLUS up to $2B
  • $2,000,000,000: The amount of additional money Equifax will have to pay if every single one of the 147M victims signs up for credit monitoring services

Clear as fog on a Sunday.

Here are some deadlines you need to know about:

  • January 22, 2020: You have until this day to submit any claims you might have, for free credit monitoring or $125 (if you already have a credit monitoring system) PLUS any other expenses you may have incurred
  • January 22, 2024: IF there are any funds left after the initial claim period, victims have an additional four years to submit a claim; that being said, Equifax’s website states that:

“Based on the number of potentially valid claims that have been submitted to date, payments for time spent and alternative compensation of up to $125 likely will be substantially lowered and will be distributed on a proportional basis if the settlement becomes final. Depending on the number of additional valid claims filed, the amount you receive may be a small percentage of your initial claim.”

If you were compromised by the Equifax breach, it’s better to be on the safe side.  Simply file a claim here.

In addition to paying the victims, court costs and penalties, Equifax has also committed to spending at least $1B on increasing their security measures.

If you don’t want to wind up like Equifax, schedule a free consultation with Craig today, or call us at (919) 422-2607… Better safe than sorry.

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