Equifax Settles Class-Action Breach Lawsuit for $380.5M

equifax data breach nation state

Class members have until Jan. 22, next week, to claim benefits.

A Georgia court granted final approval for an Equifax settlement in a class-action lawsuit, after the credit-reporting agency was hit by its massive 2017 data breach.

Equifax will pay $380.5 million to settle lawsuits regarding the 2017 data breach, the Atlanta federal judge reportedly ruled this week. In addition, Equifax may be required to dole out an additional $125 million “if needed to satisfy claims for certain out-of-pocket losses.”

“We are pleased that the Court approved the settlement, which provides significant benefits for consumers whose information was impacted in the 2017 breach,” an Equifax spokesperson told Threatpost.

The $380.5 million will be placed into a fund for consumers affected who are part of the class outlined in the lawsuit. The settlement cost will also cover attorneys’ fees, expenses and administration costs.

The $380.5 million for affected consumers is slightly more than the $300 million proposed previously  by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in July 2019. The July 2019 proposal was subject to the federal court’s Monday approval.

As part of the settlement, the company will also need to pay at least $1 billion for improved security, as well as $175 million to 48 states in the U.S and and $100 million in civil penalties to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Equifax will also need to pay $1.4 billion in litigation expenses and $77.5 million as a percentage based fee, according to Bloomberg.

It should also be noted that of the 147 million affected by the data breach, approximately 15 million are part of the class action lawsuit. If all 147 million class members end up signing up for credit monitoring (or the equal cost of $125 each), Equifax may need to pay out $2 billion more, the settlement said.

Class members have until Jan. 22 (next week) to claim benefits.

Affected consumers can either sign up for 10 years of free credit monitoring (for the equal cost of $125) or apply for a cash payout, which would make them eligible for up to $20,000; a cash payout would cover serious repercussions from the breach like losses from unauthorized charges to victims’ accounts or the cost of freezing their credit report.

Equifax, which handles data associated with more than 820 million customers and 91 million businesses worldwide, has been under public scrutiny since September 2017 when it disclosed the data breach. The attackers managed to access information containing Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and some driver’s license numbers. Equifax said it discovered the intrusion on July 29, meaning attackers apparently had access to the company’s files for nearly 12 weeks.

“Companies that profit from personal information have an extra responsibility to protect and secure that data,” said FTC Chairman Joe Simons previously said in a statement after the July 2019 proposal was made (Threatpost has reached out to the FTC for comment regarding the final approval of the settlement). “Equifax failed to take basic steps that may have prevented the breach that affected approximately 147 million consumers. This settlement requires that the company take steps to improve its data security going forward, and will ensure that consumers harmed by this breach can receive help protecting themselves from identity theft and fraud.”

In the past year, a slew of fines and penalties have been imposed that were tied privacy and data breach incidents. Earlier in July, the FTC slapped a $5 billion fine on Facebook for privacy violations following its Cambridge Analytica incident. Also hit with security-related fines in July were Marriott ($123 million) and British Airways ($230 million).

Concerned about mobile security? Check out our free Threatpost webinar, Top 8 Best Practices for Mobile App Security, on Jan. 22 at 2 p.m. ET. Poorly secured apps can lead to malware, data breaches and legal/regulatory trouble. Join our experts to discuss the secrets of building a secure mobile strategy, one app at a time. Click here to register.

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Discussion

  • Michele Lea Manuel on

    Sign me up for equifax
  • Anonymous on

    A scam. If you give them your information to get your money they simply take your information to sell it. They then send you a note stating you can't have the money until you give them MORE information and that is the last you hear from them.
  • Anonymous on

    Yes I was a victim of the Equifax. And with the pay.And free monitoring. Am I really going to be safe. Or now do I get a sin#
  • Maggie Shelton on

    Sign me up as well
  • Myra Ray on

    Sign me up pkease
  • Myra Ray on

    Please sign me up. I have been denied service due to Equifax and yet was not able to receive certain services do to Equifax comments.
  • Susan on

    You are liars. You allowed my data to become breached and now I've had over 10 identity theft attacks or whatever the term is. I expect you to contact me asap.
  • Shiv Anand on

    Equifax is really fraud bureau they really need to paid billions $ to federal trade commission because they did many fraud with there customers as with me also by showing our credit report without our permission and when we sent dispute letters to them that those are unauthorized inquiries so they can dispute it than they never dispute it they said that we can contact direct creditors. They never dispute anything or solved the problem as accounts, inquiries etc. I sent 1 30 days notice to dispute some accounts and I wrote that if within 30 days they failed to solved the problem than by fcra fair credit reporting act they need to delete those accounts from my credit report. And 30 days done and they failed to verify accounts but after that by fcra they didn't delete those accounts from my credit report. So you see how bad or fraud this Equifax bureau is.
  • Mary LaRade on

    I to was affected because of Equifaxs breach where do we find out or sign up for our payments
  • Carrie Hamilton on

    Yes sign me up
  • Carrie Hamilton on

    Yes they ruin my me I can't get anything financial at all they said something was wrong with my credit
  • sandy on

    i think if they let all your info out they should pay u a hell of alot more than 20 dollars ant like they give u a new ssn now ant no telling who has your info that u will use your hole life
  • Ana Vargas on

    Yes Received calls and calling them was a hazel every single day .very depress with this matter.

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