Equifax To Pay Up To $700 Million In Data Breach Settlement
Speaker 1: 00:00 A $600 million settlement with the credit reporting bureau. Equifax was announced today two years ago. Hackers stole sensitive information on 147 million Equifax customers in one of the nation's worst data breaches. Information stolen included social security numbers and birth dates and drivers license numbers. California Attorney General Javier Viscera announced California's participation in the settlement today, which includes an $18 million penalty payment to the state and attorney general of A. Sarah joins us now. Welcome Helen. Thank you. Now who is eligible to receive compensation from this settlement? Speaker 2: 00:39 If you were effected by this data breach by Equifax, then you can apply to receive compensation for any costs you suffered out of pocket to try to address the breach. Speaker 1: 00:51 What do people have to document to claim compensation? Speaker 2: 00:54 You essentially have to show that in fact you were impacted. You had to go out and secure a credit freeze on your credit, or you had to seek monitoring of your credit reports and you paid for that. Or in some cases, unfortunately for some people, identity thieves took your information and stole your privacy and took advantage of it and you had to pay money to take care of restoring your credit. Speaker 1: 01:22 Is there evidence that indeed information stolen from this date of breach has been used to commit credit fraud? Speaker 2: 01:29 I know that there were consumers who had filed cases in court ready to make the case that they had been impacted by having their data stolen. Speaker 1: 01:37 Have investigators been able to determine who committed this hack into Equifax? Speaker 2: 01:42 So with 150 million people affected, I don't think we're going to know the depth of this breach for each of those 150 or 147 million Americans, but we do know that they were impacted and that's why this fund was created to give all of those people a chance to get paid back for any costs they incurred, but trying to figure out specifically how and where and why and how many would be difficult, and that's why the settlement is a global settlement. Speaker 1: 02:12 I see. You know, a lot of times when these data breaches occur, it can be traced to someone in a foreign country or, or at least investigators know where the hacking came from. In this case, it remains unknown. Speaker 2: 02:25 It remains, uh, disclosed publicly. Maybe somebody knows, uh, but it's not yet been said publicly who the, uh, the hackers were. Speaker 1: 02:35 How was Equifax at fault in this incident? Speaker 2: 02:39 Equifax should have taken measures that could have, but should have taken measures to patch the deficiencies in its systems that allowed the breach to occur. It didn't. And as a result, hackers went in and were able to access the private information. 147 million Americans. And so Equifax owed those Americans. It owes all of us who it maintains credit histories for that duty of, uh, privacy and protection. And if failed in that regard. Speaker 1: 03:14 And what kind of changes do you know has the company made to ensure that this won't happen again? Speaker 2: 03:19 Well, the type of patch and security measures that would have prevented this hack are the type of measures that now Equifax is compelled to undertake in this settlement. They have agreed that they will undertake the types of measures that would have stopped a breach like this from occurring. They also will now provide to those Americans who come forward who are affected by this breach, uh, free credit reporting, uh, for the next 10 years. The credit credit monitoring that they would otherwise have to pay for. They will now get free from Equifax and it will include a credit monitoring, not just by Equifax as a, um, credit monitoring, um, bureau, but by the other two credit reporting agencies as well. Equifax will cover those costs. Speaker 1: 04:11 Attorney General was Sarah, how will California use the 18 million? It's getting in the settlement Speaker 2: 04:17 with the 18 point $7 million that California receives in penalties. We will continue to investigate and prosecute cases just like this. Uh, the ability for California's Department of Justice to go after Equifax to make sure it, it made our citizens hole was made possible by the penalty dollars that we received from previous cases. It should not be, uh, at the taxpayer's dime that we, uh, go after those who violate the law. We should have the violators pay for the breaches in the future. And that's why we use those penalties to go after those to investigate, go after those who might in the future violate consumer's law. Uh, privacy laws. Speaker 1: 04:59 You know, critics say this settlement and amount is not enough even though it's $600 million because it won't deter other credit bureaus from being lax about security. They say it's only less than one typical quarter of sales for Equifax. How do you respond to that? Speaker 2: 05:16 I think that, uh, anytime you have anyone, whether it's an individual or a company, have to pay $600 million that they were not expecting to, it makes you think. We also have to make sure that when we go to court, we can prove up the damages. It's not just a matter of, uh, trying to punish Equifax cause we don't like what they did. We have to prove up that in fact people were harmed. And so, uh, to some degree this settlement reflects the type of harm that p book could prove up. And to some degree, it's also a case that we were able to prove up that Equifax committed violations of law that it shouldn't have and therefore should be penalized. And finally, if they don't already know, how do consumers find out if their information was part of this data breach? That's the war in perhaps the most important thing is we want people to, to know that they have now some rights to try to get some of the relief if they suffered from the, the breach itself by Equifax. Speaker 2: 06:19 We, if you'd like, I can give the a toll free number that people can call or, and I can give the website that can be used to find out how to file a claim to be able to recuperate some money, uh, to compensate for your loss. The toll free number would be a (833) 759-2982 or folks can go on the website that has been established for this. That would be www.equifaxbreachsettlementoneword.com. Again, ww dot Equifax breach settlement.com I've been speaking with Attorney General Javier Bissera, and thank you so much for your time, Maureen. Thank you for helping get the word out to folks. Speaker 3: 07:13 Uh.