Monday, December 30, 2019

Equifax Data Breach Settlement

Is it possible to get some money from this lawsuit?   Maybe.

A couple of years ago, there was a data breach at Equifax, and some people's personal information was exposed.   Whether this resulted in anyone having their identity stolen isn't clear.  But the FTC filed suit, and Equifax settled for $380 million, which will be divided up among claimants.  If you have actual damages you can document, you might get reimbursed.  Most people who were not directly impacted might get $125 out of the deal, if that.

If you have actual cash damages and can document them you might actually get more.  But if all you suffered was "inconvenience" you might get a little, or maybe nothing.

The process to sign up isn't hard.  You can do it online at:

Even if you have no documented cash damages to claim, you can claim your "time" at $20 an hour, up to ten hours, without any additional documentation.   For example, when I learned of this breach, I locked my credit reports, changed all my passwords, set up two-step authentication, and signed up for a credit monitoring service (free, of course). This did take some time - how much time you want to claim for it, I leave that up to you.  Suffice it to say, it was far more than an hour, but not more than ten.

Whether anything comes of this, I do not know.  I will update this posting if they ever send us any checks.

But it can't hurt to ask!

UPDATE 2023:  In January of this year (four years later!) we each received a check for $21.06 (total, $42.12) which I guess is better than nothing.   One good side-effect of this settlement is that many of the credit reporting agencies now allow you to lock and unlock your credit report for free, and make it much easier to do.  And no, no one stole our "identity" - that is a largely overblown meme.  When you call ordinary credit card theft, "identity theft" then it does make the numbers seem scary.