Washington included in Equifax settlement - individuals can make claims

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

State Attorney General
Bob Ferguson

Attorney General Bob Ferguson, along with 49 other attorneys general, announced that credit-reporting agency Equifax will pay more than half a billion dollars because of a 2017 data breach affecting nearly 150 million individuals nationwide. This is the largest data breach enforcement action in U.S. history.

“Equifax handles Washingtonians’ personal data, and we expect them to keep that information safe,” said Ferguson. “This resolution holds Equifax accountable to the millions of individuals who had their information stolen.”

As part of resolutions to be filed with Washington, 49 other attorneys general, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission and private parties, Equifax will pay $175 million to the states and up to $425 million to affected consumers.

Washington will receive more than $3.7 million, which will go toward continued enforcement of state data security and privacy laws. If the number of consumers filing claims results in less than the maximum restitution payments from the nationwide fund, the Attorney General’s Office may use its payment to provide additional funds to Washingtonians.

The Attorney General asserts that Equifax’s failure to protect Washingtonians’ information violated the state Consumer Protection Act.

Affected Washingtonians can submit a claim online, or request a paper form to send by mail here or by calling 833-759-2982. To receive email updates regarding the launch of this online registry, consumers can sign up here. The resolution proposes that the nearly 150 million individuals affected by the breach can request free credit monitoring provided by Equifax and reimbursement for:

  • time spent trying to avoid or recover from identity theft, up to 20 total hours at $25 per hour;
  • money spent trying to avoid or recover from identity theft, including fees to freeze or unfreeze credit, professional identity theft services costs or postage; and
  • reimbursement of $125 for those who already have credit monitoring and decline the credit monitoring services offered as part of the resolution.The proposed restitution is subject to the court’s approval.

Equifax will provide free credit monitoring to affected individuals for ten years. Individuals under 18 years old at the time of the breach will receive 18 years of free credit monitoring.

In addition to free credit monitoring, affected individuals who become victims of identity theft may be eligible for free services to help restore their identity.

For at least five years, all consumers can request two additional credit reports from Equifax every 12 months at no cost. Federal law allows individuals to request one free report every 12 months.

Equifax is required to put technical safeguards in place to protect personal information and complete independent, third-party compliance assessments for the next six years.

Washington was a member of the executive committee in the multistate investigation. Assistant Attorneys General Shidon Aflatooni and Tiffany Lee are lead attorneys on the case for Washington state.


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