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, including:
- 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.
(Previously, a cash payment was identified as an alternative to the free credit monitoring, but there are limited funds available. See FAQ 5 for details.)
- 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 up to $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 up to $25 per hour up to 20 hours. There are limited funds available so your claim may be reduced. See FAQ 9 for more details.
- 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 updates to get a reminder in early 2020.
You must file a claim by January 22, 2020.
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.
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.
The settlement administrator is currently sending two important emails about the settlement:
- If you were affected by the breach, you may get an email letting you know that you are eligible to apply for benefits. The email provides details about the settlement. If you’re not sure the email is real, simply visit the settlement website to see if you are affected by the breach and file a claim. Use links from this page to the settlement website—they’re legit.
- If you filed a claim before August 2, 2019, and requested the alternative compensation of up to $125, you will get an email letting you know that there are further steps you must take to get your benefits. Follow the instructions in the email. You must amend or verify your claim before October 15, 2019, or your claim may be denied.
The public response to the settlement has been overwhelming. Because the total amount available for the alternative compensations is $31 million, each person who takes the money option is likely to get a very small amount. Nowhere near the $125 they could have gotten if there hadn’t been such an enormous number of claims filed.
The free credit monitoring provides a much better value, and everyone whose information was exposed can take advantage of it. If your information was exposed in the data breach, and you file a valid claim before the deadline, you are guaranteed at least four years of free monitoring at all three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) and $1,000,000 of identity theft insurance, among other benefits. The market value of this product is hundreds of dollars per year.
You can still choose the cash option on the claim form, but you will be disappointed with the amount you receive and you won’t get the free credit monitoring.
6. I want to change my claim to get free credit monitoring instead of a cash payment. Can I do that?
Yes, if you submitted a claim for the alternative cash payment before August 2, 2019, you can amend your claim to request free credit monitoring instead. The settlement administrator is sending an email that gives people the option to:
1) verify their claim by providing additional information OR
2) amend their claim to switch to free credit monitoring.
If you get this email, you must verify or amend your claim before October 15, 2019. The settlement website has been updated with this information under the “I would like to…” menu.
Equifax is one of three national credit bureaus. These companies collect information about your credit history, such as how many credit cards you have, how much money you owe, and how you pay your bills. Each company creates a credit report about you, and then sells this report to businesses who are deciding whether to give you credit. You cannot opt out of this data collection. However, you can review your credit report for free andfreeze your credit.
If you were affected by the data breach, you can file a claim for four years of free credit monitoring from Experian, a company unrelated to Equifax. With this option, Experian will monitor your credit report at all three national credit bureaus, and you also will get identity theft insurance that will cover losses up to $1,000,000. The claim form also offers additional years of credit monitoring from Equifax. You can request the credit monitoring by Experian, and decline the credit monitoring offered by Equifax. Whether or not you choose to get free credit monitoring from Equifax, the company will continue to collect information about you.
9. How much of the settlement fund can be used to pay claims for time spent dealing with the data breach?
During this initial claims period, a maximum of $31 million can be used to pay claims submitted for time spent dealing with the breach. If the settlement administrator receives valid claims for more than $31 million, then everyone with a valid claim for time spent will get an equal percentage of the amount they claimed.
Use this look-up tool to see if you were affected by the breach.