COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – After years of waiting, millions of Americans will soon be seeing their payouts following a class-action lawsuit against Equifax. A deadline recently passed for changing the method of payout, but there’s still a way to get your money electronically.
The 2017 Equifax breach saw hackers take roughly 147.9 million Americans’ personal information, making it one of the largest data breaches in history. The exposed information included names, Social Security numbers, birthdays, driver’s license numbers, and 200,000 credit card numbers. More than five years later, it’s still possible for anyone to check if they were hit in the hack.
The legal response after Equifax disclosed the breach took two years to gather steam. In the later months of 2019, a court-appointed team of lawyers secured a $700 million settlement from the credit agency to give some form of payback to the millions of Americans affected.
The settlement offered either a $125 payout or 10 years of free credit monitoring and $1 million in identity theft insurance provided by Equifax. The deadline for anyone affected by the breach to file a claim passed in January 2020, according to the settlement website. However, those who did file a claim may have recently received an email reminding them of the payout.
The email sent at the beginning of October informed applicants whether they were eligible for a settlement payment. The claimants who chose the $125 settlement payment, rather than the free credit monitoring Equifax offered, were initially going to receive it by mailed check. However, JND Legal Administration — the organization handling the settlement’s actions — said in the email that it now has the ability to send the payouts via Paypal or prepaid card.
The deadline to opt-in for an electronic settlement payment passed on Oct. 14, according to JND’s email. However, the website for opting into an electronic payment is still active. Anyone who visits the link will need to type in their claim number, which is located at the top of JND’s email. JND Administration added in the email that any claimant who didn’t respond to the email will still receive their settlement as a mailed physical check.
With a three-year gap between when data breach victims filed their claims and the now-looming settlement payouts, it’s possible JND could mail claimants’ settlement checks to an old address. If you stick with a physical check in the mail and have recently moved, you can make sure you still receive it by setting up mail forwarding from your old address with the United States Postal Service. The post office offers this through an online portal, but it comes with a $1.10 identity verification fee.
Anyone with questions about the Equifax breach, or the status of their settlement compensation can email JND Administration, or call 1-833-759-2982. You can read the initial consumer complaint in the Equifax Inc. Customer Data Security Breach Litigation here, or click here to read the final judgment document from U.S. District Court.