Today, Attorney General Peterson joined 49 attorneys general announcing a settlement with Equifax concerning the credit-reporting agency’s 2017 data breach. This was the largest-ever consumer data breach exposing the data of 56 percent of American adults.
A nearly two-year investigation found that Equifax’s failure to maintain the security of its computer systems enabled hackers to penetrate those systems. The Attorneys General settlement includes a Consumer Restitution Fund of up to $425 million, a $175 million payment to the states, and appropriate changes to their business practices. Additionally, the company will offer affected consumers extended credit-monitoring services for a total of 10 years.
“Equifax was in the business of collecting and controlling access to millions of Americans’ personal information. Nebraska consumers were impacted by the compromise of their information and Equifax is being held accountable for those harms,” stated Attorney General Peterson.
On September 7, 2017, Equifax, one of the largest consumer reporting agencies in the world, announced a data breach affecting more than 147 million consumers— nearly half of the U.S. population. Breached information included social security numbers, names, dates of birth, addresses, credit card numbers, and in some cases, driver’s license numbers.
Shortly after, a coalition that grew to 50 attorneys general launched a multi-state investigation into the breach. The investigation found that the breach occurred because Equifax failed to implement an adequate security program to protect consumers’ highly sensitive personal information.
In addition to strengthening its security practices, Equifax has agreed to take several steps to assist consumers who are either facing identity theft issues or who have already had their identities stolen. Those steps include:
- making it easier for consumers to freeze and thaw their credit
- making it easier for consumers to dispute inaccurate information in their credit reports
- maintaining sufficient staff dedicated to assisting consumers who may be victims of identity theft
Equifax also agreed to pay the states a total of $175 million, which includes $1,050,877 for Nebraska.
Consumers who are eligible for restitution will be required to submit their claims online or by mail. Consumers will be able to obtain information about the settlement, check their eligibility to file a claim, and file a claim on the Equifax Settlement Breach online registry. To receive email updates regarding the launch of the Equifax Settlement Breach online registry, consumers can sign up at www.ftc.gov/equifax. Consumers can also call the settlement administrator at 1-833-759-2982 for more information. The Consumer Restitution Fund will be administered in connection with settlements that have been reached in the multi-district class actions filed against Equifax, as well as settlements that were reached with the Federal Trade Commission and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Joining Nebraska in this settlement were attorneys generals from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
To obtain information about how to protect yourself as a consumer, file a consumer complaint, or report a scam, please visit the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office, Consumer Protection website at www.protectthegoodlife.nebraska.gov or call (800) 727-6432.