Over 275 Days Since Equifax’s Data Breach Settlement and No One Has Been Paid

Have you felt someone owes you money? Last year, credit reporting agency Equifax was rocked by a massive data breach affecting most (56%) Americans. The company agreed to one of the largest settlements of its kind, $700M to be disbursed, covering identity protection monitoring services and direct cash payments to help those whose data had been stolen.

Many of you probably read some of these headlines in the summer of 2019, and many more still filled out the forms after promises of up to $125 per afflicted party. There were several deadlines and additional hoops people had to jump through, but 275 days later: no one has been paid yet, and it’s not clear if they ever will be. It’s been almost three times that time (800+ Days) since the breach itself actually occured in Q3 of 2017. 

“275 days later: no one has been paid yet, and it’s not clear if they ever will be.”

According to Consumer Reports and the FTC, it’s likely that any cash payments will end up being far less than the maximum of $125. 

“A large number of claims for cash instead of credit monitoring means only one thing: each person who takes the money option will wind up only getting a small amount of money. Nowhere near the $125 they could have gotten if there hadn’t been such an enormous number of claims filed.”

As governments, businesses and individuals scramble to save their economic futures in a post-Coronavirus world, $125 per credit-using American adults could go a long way towards paying for the weekly groceries, mortgage payments or utility bills. It makes us wonder: Should Equifax pay interest on these missed payments? How might it affect their credit score?

Equifax has placed arbitrary deadlines on their claim forms that have since elapsed, but they still allow you to “file an extended claim” on their website through 2024. That year should give you an idea of how long you’ll likely be waiting for recompense.

The total settlement was for $700M and was by far the largest ever for a data breach

As more network security issues are identified in personal, as well as workplace devices, prioritizing protection might seem obvious but end up being a difficult task. These issues will likely cause more breaches in the future, as well as more settlements with consumers.  

But will the American people ever be paid for their exposure and hardships that stem from these breaches? Even at $125 or less per affected American, it would be a timely payout at a moment when many need the income for recurring expenses or to boost their savings accounts. That outcome remains to be seen, and it hasn’t happened yet.

The number of reported data breaches rose 17% to 1,473 in 2019 from 1,257 a year earlier, and we’re guessing 2020 will see yet another increase. The scope of these breaches also seems to be broadening recently, with over 4 billion records mismanaged last year. It remains to be seen if exploited users will ever be compensated for their data loss, but we’ll continue to report on the situation.