Is Equifax’s Data Breach Resolution Email Legit?
In late January 2022, Google users took to Reddit and elsewhere to find out whether an email regarding the status of Equifax’s data breach settlement was “scam or legit,” as readers often do. after receiving such notices. The subject line of the email was “Equifax Data Breach Settlement (Credit Monitoring Instructions and Activation Code)”, and was linked to the website, experianidworks.com/equifaxsettlement. He promised a free four-year subscription to the Experian IdentityWorks credit monitoring service.
This was a legitimate notice for a data breach settlement for Equifax. Readers may recall making a claim under the settlement in July 2019. Users who elected to receive credit monitoring instead of a check received activation codes in the new e -mail from Experian IdentityWorks. The official settlement website was equifaxbreachsettlement.com.
What it is about?
The official settlement website documented that in September 2017, Equifax was “the victim of a criminal cyberattack”, giving attackers “unauthorized access to the personal information of approximately 147 million US consumers”. This included “persons’ names, social security numbers, dates of birth, addresses, and in some cases driver’s license numbers, credit card numbers, or other personal information.”
Numerous lawsuits have been filed on behalf of consumers whose personal information was affected as a result of the data breach. Chief Judge Thomas W. Thrash Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia is overseeing these prosecutions. These lawsuits are known as In re: Equifax Inc. Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, Case No. 1:17-md-2800-TWT. The consumers who sued are referred to as the “plaintiffs”. Equifax, Inc. and two of its subsidiaries are the “Defendants”. The plaintiffs claimed that Equifax failed to adequately protect consumers’ personal information and that Equifax delayed notification of the data breach. The most recent version of the lawsuit, which outlines the specific legal claims alleged by the plaintiffs, is available here. Equifax denies any wrongdoing, and no court or other judicial entity has rendered any judgment or other determination of wrongdoing.
Ultimately, the two sides in the legal battle “agreed to a settlement after a lengthy mediation process overseen by a retired federal judge.” This settlement allowed applicants to choose whether to receive a check or a credit watch. Anyone who elected to receive a check could potentially receive a much smaller amount than expected, as the “alternative compensation of up to $125” would be “likely significantly reduced” to a “small percentage” of what was expected.
The email that began sending in late January 2022 provided an update on the status of Equifax’s data breach resolution. According to a copy of the email we reviewed, it reads:
Equifax Data Breach Settlement (Credit Monitoring Instructions and Activation Code)
Date of issue: January 31, 2022
Complaint number (deleted)
You have filed a claim under Equifax’s Data Breach Settlement and have elected to receive free credit monitoring from three offices (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) of Experian for four years. Implementation of the settlement has been delayed by appeals; however, the settlement is now in effect because the appellate courts have upheld it. This email provides additional information about the services provided by Experian under the Settlement and how you can register.
You get a free membership to Experian IdentityWorks℠ for four years. You must register before June 27, 2022.
This service is free to you and provided as a benefit of the settlement. You do not need to provide payment information to register and you do not need to cancel the service when it ends. We encourage you to register today.
HOW TO REGISTER :
• Visit the Experian IdentityWorks website: www.experianidworks.com/equifaxsettlement
• Enter your activation code: (deleted)
You must use the code above to register before June 27, 2022 (your activation code will not work after this date).
If you have questions, need help with identity restoration (either because you were the victim of fraud or identity theft) due to the Equifax data breach, or if you would like another way to register for Experian IdentityWorks, please call the Experian Customer Service team toll-free at 1-877-251-5822. In order for the team to serve you better, please be prepared to provide them with the Escrow Number (deleted) so that you can access the Settlement Identity Restoration Services for assistance with fraud or theft. identity. For more information on Identity Restoration Services, visit www.experianidworks.com/equifaxsettlement.
The email also explained exactly what is included in the four-year membership to the credit monitoring service known as Experian IdentityWorks:
– Daily Credit Monitoring* from each of the three national consumer reporting agencies showing major changes to your consumer reports;
– Automated alerts when opening new accounts; inquiries or requests for credit reports are made for the purpose of determining credit; address changes; and negative information (including defaults or bankruptcies);
– On-demand online access to a copy of your Experian Consumer Report, updated monthly;
– Automated non-credit related alerts, using public or proprietary data sources, for example: when certain information is found on a suspicious website or the “dark web”; where names, aliases and addresses have been associated with your social security number; when a payday loan or unsecured credit was taken out or opened using your social security number; where your information matches information in arrest or criminal justice records; when your information is used for identity authentication; when your mail has been redirected through the US Postal Service; when banking activity is detected related to new deposit account applications, changes to personal information, and the addition of new signers to accounts; and when a balance is reported on your inactive line of credit for at least six months;
– Up to $1 million Identity Theft Insurance** which covers certain fees and unauthorized electronic funds transfers;
– A customer service center to assist with registration, monitoring alerts, disputes, fraud and other credit monitoring service issues;
– Complete identity restoration service if you are a victim of fraud or identity theft (which includes a dedicated identity theft restoration specialist who will provide step-by-step assistance and form letters to contact businesses, government agencies and consumer reporting agencies), and
– Child supervision services (for group members under the age of eighteen).
*Daily credit reports are only available online. If you don’t register online, you can request additional reports each quarter after you register.
** Identity Theft Insurance is underwritten and administered by American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida, an Assurant company. Please refer to the actual policies for terms, conditions and coverage exclusions. Coverage may not be available in all jurisdictions.
To reach Equifax’s Data Breach Resolution Administrator or inquire about their status, the email says to call 1-833-759-2982. In the meantime, any questions regarding Experian IdentityWorks can be directed to the telephone number 1-877-251-5822.
We have previously reported on other legal issues involving settlements for National Grid and Plaid Inc.