Equifax Data Breach Settlement

ATTENTION:  The three most important steps you need to do right now:
  1. Check your credit report (FREE):  www.annualcreditreport.com (you will not get nor do you need your scores)
  2. Enroll in a robust credit monitoring service using link below: (Unfortunately, the “free” services are not recommended at this time)
  3. Use this link to so we can review your report for any red flags of identity theft:  GET STARTED
* Also, as a certified FICO Pro I do not recommend using Equifax’s “tool” to check to see if you’ve been affected. (More exposure) You can file a claim without using this tool.  Everyone should assume that they’ve been affected by this data breach and the numerous prior breaches.
Use This Link To Start Monitoring Your Credit: GET STARTED   *You will get your scores once you sign up
              1. CLICK “GET STARTED”
              2. CHOOSE YOUR STATE
              3. SELECT “YOU IDENTITY THEFT PLAN”

 

AFFECTED BY THE EQUIFAX BREACH? FILE A CLAIM NOW.

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.

If your information was exposed in the data breach, you can file a claim at EquifaxBreachSettlement.com for the benefits described below.

Not sure if your information was exposed? Use this look-up tool to see.

You can file a claim for: 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 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 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.
    • If you submit a claim for 10 hours or less, you must describe the actions you took and the time you spent doing those things.
    • If you claim more than 10 hours, you must describe the actions you took AND provide documents that show identity theft, fraud, or other misuse of your information.
  • 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.

Even if you do not file a claim, you can get:

Free Help Recovering from Identity Theft

  • For at least seven years, you can get free identity restoration services. If you discover misuse of your personal information, call the settlement administrator at 1-833-759-2982. You will be given instructions for how to access free identity restoration services.

Free Credit Reports for All U.S. Consumers

  • Starting in 2020, all U.S. consumers can get 6 free credit reports per year for 7 years from the Equifax website. That’s in addition to the one free Equifax report (plus your Experian and TransUnion reports) you can get at AnnualCreditReport.com. Sign up for email updatesto get a reminder in early 2020.

FAQS

When will the claims process start?

The claims process has started. File a claim by January 22, 2020

What is the deadline to file a claim?

You must file a claim by January 22, 2020.

When will I get my benefits?

The settlement administrator will not send out any benefits until they are allowed to do so by the court, which will be January 23, 2020, at the earliest. We will update this page, and send email updates, when we have more information.

How will I get my benefits?

For free credit monitoring, after final approval from the court, you will get an activation code with instructions. You can choose to receive this code by email or postal mail when you file your claim.

For cash payments, you can choose to get a check or debit card when you file your claim. It will be sent to your mailing address after final approval from the court.

Credit Freeze FAQs

If you’re concerned about identity theft, data breaches, or someone gaining access to your credit report without your permission, you might consider placing a credit freeze on your report.

What is a credit freeze?

Also known as a security freeze, this free tool lets you restrict access to your credit report, which in turn makes it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name. That’s because most creditors need to see your credit report before they approve a new account. If they can’t see your report, they may not extend the credit.

Does a credit freeze affect my credit score?

No. A credit freeze does not affect your credit score.

A credit freeze also does not:

  • prevent you from getting your free annual credit report
  • keep you from opening a new account, applying for a job, renting an apartment, or buying insurance. But if you’re doing any of these, you’ll need to lift the freeze temporarily, either for a specific time or for a specific party, say, a potential landlord or employer. It’s free to lift the freeze and free to place it again when you’re done accessing your credit.
  • prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts. You still need to monitor all bank, credit card and insurance statements for fraudulent transactions.

Does a credit freeze stop prescreened credit offers?

No. If you want to stop getting prescreened offers of credit, call 888-5OPTOUT (888-567-8688) or go online. The phone number and website are operated by the nationwide credit bureaus. You can opt out for five years or permanently. However, some companies send offers that are not based on prescreening, and your federal opt-out right will not stop those kinds of solicitations.

As you consider opting out, you should know that prescreened offers can provide many benefits, especially if you are in the market for a credit card or insurance. Prescreened offers can help you learn about what’s available, compare costs, and find the best product for your needs. Because you are pre-selected to receive the offer, you can be turned down only under limited circumstances. The terms of prescreened offers also may be more favorable than those that are available to the general public. In fact, some credit card or insurance products may be available only through prescreened offers.

Can anyone see my credit report if it is frozen?

Certain entities still will have access to it.

  • your report can be released to your existing creditors or to debt collectors acting on their behalf.
  • government agencies may have access in response to a court or administrative order, a subpoena, or a search warrant.

How do I place a freeze on my credit reports?

Contact each of the nationwide credit bureaus:

Equifax
Equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services
800-685-1111

Experian
Experian.com/help
888-EXPERIAN (888-397-3742)

Transunion
TransUnion.com/credit-help
888-909-8872

You’ll need to supply your name, address, date of birth, Social Security number and other personal information.

After receiving your freeze request, each credit bureau will provide you with a unique PIN (personal identification number) or password. Keep the PIN or password in a safe place. You will need it if you choose to lift the freeze.

How do I lift a freeze?

A freeze remains in place until you ask the credit bureau to temporarily lift it or remove it altogether. If the request is made online or by phone,  a credit bureau must lift a freeze within one hour. If the request is made by mail, then the bureau must lift the freeze no later than three business days after getting your request.

If you opt for a temporary lift because you are applying for credit or a job, and you can find out which credit bureau the business will contact for your file, you can save some time by lifting the freeze only at that particular credit bureau. Otherwise, you need to make the request with all three credit bureaus.

What’s the difference between a credit freeze and a fraud alert?

A credit freeze locks down your credit. A fraud alert allows creditors to get a copy of your credit report as long as they take steps to verify your identity. For example, if you provide a telephone number, the business must call you to verify whether you are the person making the credit request. Fraud alerts may be effective at stopping someone from opening new credit accounts in your name, but they may not prevent the misuse of your existing accounts. You still need to monitor all bank, credit card and insurance statements for fraudulent transactions.

Three types of fraud alerts are available:

  • Fraud Alert. If you’re concerned about identity theft, but haven’t yet become a victim, this fraud alert will protect your credit from unverified access for one year. You may want to place a fraud alert on your file if your wallet, Social Security card, or other personal, financial or account information is lost or stolen.
  • Extended Fraud Alert. For victims of identity theft, an extended fraud alert will protect your credit for seven years.
  • Active Duty Military Alert. For those in the military who want to protect their credit while deployed, this fraud alert lasts for one year and can be renewed for the length of your deployment. The credit bureaus will also take you off their marketing lists for pre-screened credit card offers for two years, unless you ask them not to.

To place a fraud alert on your credit reports, contact one of the nationwide credit bureaus. A fraud alert is free. The credit bureau you contact must tell the other two, and all three will place an alert on their versions of your report.

 

Need Help?

If you still need help understanding the Equifax Data Breach Settlement, fill out the form below and get a free credit consultation from a credit expert at Better Qualified.