Attorney General Fox Announces Historic Equifax Data Breach Settlement
Attorney General Tim Fox and 49 other attorneys general announced an historic $600 million settlement today with Equifax concerning its 2017 data breach affecting over 147 million Americans – more than half of the U.S. population. That number includes an estimated 380,441 Montanans.
“Today’s announcement marks the largest data breach settlement ever in our country,” said Attorney General Tim Fox. “I encourage Montana consumers whose personal information was exposed by Equifax to request free credit monitoring and reimbursement for money and time they’ve personally spent addressing the data breach. My consumer protection team stands ready to assist Montanans who may have questions about the breach and how to recover from or prevent identity theft.”
This settlement is part of a global settlement Equifax reached with the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Multi-District Litigation private class action. Equifax will:
• Offer affected consumers free credit monitoring services for 10 years;
• Provide free identity theft restoration services to all affected consumers;
• Strengthen its data security practices to help protect against another breach;
• Help identity theft victims and concerned consumers to:
o Understand their credit reports;
o Dispute inaccurate entries on their credit reports, including those resulting from identity theft; and
o Assist active duty military members, veterans, and their families with credit report issues unique to service members.
Additionally, Equifax will pay $300 million into a settlement fund for the benefit of affected consumers, with the possibility of paying up to an additional $125 million into the settlement fund, for a total of $425 million. It will also pay $175 million to the states.
Affected consumers are eligible to request these reimbursements from the settlement fund:
• Reimbursement for time spent trying to avoid or recover from identity theft (up to 20 total hours at $25 per hour);
• Reimbursement for money spent trying to avoid or recover from identity theft (such as costs for freezing your credit report, professional fees paid to address identity theft, postage, etc.);
• Up to $125 to reimburse for credit monitoring services purchased if you choose not to accept the offered 10 free years of credit monitoring service offered as a part of the settlement.
Answers to frequently asked questions about the Equifax data breach are available at Attorney General Fox’s Office of Consumer Protection online. Information about how to request a credit freeze is available here.
The settlement is being handled by a settlement administrator. Eligible consumers should visit www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com to file a claim, or call 1-833-759-2982 toll-free to request a paper claim form. Montanans who have unanswered questions after calling this number may contact Attorney General Fox’s Office of Consumer Protection at 1-(800) 481-6896 or (406) 444-4500. Montana consumers may also visit http://dojmt.gov/consumer.