On September 27, 2017 Equifax announced that cybercriminals had breached the company’s database and stolen personal information of as many as 143 million Americans. The lawsuit filed in response accuses them of negligence and is seeking damages for injuries caused by their inability to keep consumer data safe.
The “equifax settlement payout date” is the day that people will be paid out for their losses. The company has not yet announced a date, but it was estimated to be in March of 2019.
(This page was last updated on November 30, 2018)
When an unauthorized individual acquires access to protected information for personal or political advantage, it is called a data breach.
Identity theft and financial losses are common outcomes of data breaches.
Identity theft, financial losses, and litigation are all common outcomes of data breaches. They’ve been more widespread in recent years, and they often result in consumer lawsuits—especially in the case of Yahoo, which had at least 1.4 billion accounts exposed.
Marriott, the world’s biggest hotel company, was also hit by a major data hack that might have affected up to 500 million people.
In 2016, more than 4.2 billion data were exposed, according to a research by Risk Based Security. While the overall number of data breaches has stayed relatively constant over the last year, the number of major breaches, such as Yahoo’s, has climbed. Data breaches are becoming more regular, and as technology grows more widespread, they may become much more so.
Please contact us for a free legal consultation if you or a loved one has incurred damages as a result of a data breach. Our lawyers are among the most skilled and experienced in the world when it comes to these sorts of situations.
Breaches Occur in a Variety of Industries
The Breach Level Index (BLI) categorizes data breaches into four categories:
- 29.87 percent in retail
- 21.49 percent of the population is employed by the government.
- Technology accounts for 17.97% of the total.
- 11.51 percent of the total
- 11.47 percent financial
- 7.69 percent of GDP is spent on healthcare.
Unfortunately, the breaches are so widespread that no particular sector can be avoided in order to feel more protected.
The bulk of breaches (57.91 percent) are attributed to malevolent outsiders, with 15% to malicious insiders—and just 23.29 percent to unintentional loss, according to the BLI.
Hackers steal data more frequently than not in order to sell it to the highest bidder, perpetrate credit card fraud, or make a political statement.
Billions are lost as a result of mega-breach.
Yahoo reported in December 2016 that 1 billion customers’ data had been taken in August 2013. This happened just a few months after Yahoo reported in 2014 that 500 million customers’ data had been compromised in a data breach. Names, email addresses, dates of birth, phone numbers, and passwords were among the data. (For more information on the Yahoo data breach and how it may effect you, see these FAQs.)
Exactis, a marketing and data aggregation business, had a data breach in June 2018. The hack exposed extremely sensitive information from 230 million people and 110 million organizations, including phone numbers, home and email addresses, as well as personal hobbies and preferences. On June 29, 2018, attorney John Yanchunis filed a complaint against Exactis, awaiting class-action status.
In addition, multiple social media mega-breach announcements were made in May 2016: MySpace, LinkedIn, and Tumblr all reported that their users’ data had been exposed years previously, in 2012 and 2013. (LinkedIn had already revealed the breach, but had grossly overestimated the scale of the problem by around 100 million members.) On black market sites, hundreds of millions of email addresses and passwords are now for sale.
Troy Hunt is a Microsoft Regional Director, a web security specialist, and the creator of Have I Been Pwned, a handy website that enables users to verify whether their personal information has been exposed in a data breach. The magnitude and extent of the mega-breach astounded him.
Perhaps the only silver lining to this expanding security problem is that it is now receiving the attention and consumer awareness it deserves in the media.
Web Breach Notables
Yahoo’s hacks are the biggest ever, followed by Marriott’s, MySpace’s, and Exactis’:
- Approximately 1 billion accounts were exposed by Yahoo in 2013.
- Approximately 500,000,000 accounts were revealed by Yahoo in 2014.
- Marriott (2018): around 500,000,000 accounts have been compromised.
- 359,420,698 accounts on MySpace
- 340,000,000 accounts, to be exact.
- There are 164,611,595 LinkedIn accounts.
- 152,445,165 Adobe accounts
- Badoo has 112,005,531 users.
- 93,338,602 accounts on VK
- There are 68,648,009 Dropbox accounts.
- 65,469,298 accounts on Tumblr
(Have I Been Pwned? https://haveibeenpwned.com/)
The list above excludes well-publicized retail hacks like those at Anthem, Home Depot, and Target, which put tens of millions of customers at risk and cost these corporations tens of millions of dollars.
Breach in Other Industries
Data breaches aren’t only happening on LinkedIn and Tumblr. These hacks may affect major shops, medical/healthcare firms, and financial institutions.
In 2016, for example, Wendy’s had a data breach that affected around 300 of its 5,500 stores. This implies that everyone who paid with a credit card at one of these 300 eateries is now at risk of credit card fraud. (In addition to putting a strain on customers, data breaches place a significant load on credit card issuers, which must deal with a torrent of fraud claims and revoked cards.)
Here are some of the noteworthy breaches in these businesses, as well as the resulting class action settlements:
- Anthem: $115 million settlement (affected up to 80 million consumers).
- $28.5 million in total ($18.5 million for states, $10 million for consumers) is the goal.
- $19.5 million settlement with Home Depot (affecting 50 million cards).
- Sony has been fined $15 million for a security violation on its PlayStation network.
- Sony (data breach involving employees): $8 million
- $4.1 million for Stanford University Hospital and Clinics
- $3.1 million AvMed Inc.
- $3 million Vendini
- $2.1 million Schnuck Markets
A data breach, on the other hand, does not go away just because a corporation upgrades its security procedures and pays a lawsuit, or because a customer changes his or her password or PIN. Years later, a data breach might come back to harm the people whose data was taken.
Breaches Can Have Wide-Reaching Consequences
The risk of a breach is not simply that a hacker has a person’s MySpace or LinkedIn password, but because millions of individuals use the same email and password combination for their bank or credit card account, Amazon account, and other accounts. People recycle passwords across several accounts for years on end, which is a hacker’s fantasy.
Mark Zuckerberg, the creator and CEO of Facebook, should know better. However, in June 2016, Mr. Zuckerberg’s Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest accounts were hacked when a group named OurMine Team acquired access to Mr. Zuckerberg’s password through the LinkedIn breach (see “Mega-Breaches” above).
According to OurMine Team, Mr. Zuckerberg’s password is The easy-to-crack “dadada” in all lowercase letters.
Suits for Data Breach
Affected customers may be able to band together and launch a data breach lawsuit against a firm if the company fails to take reasonable care in securing their information and a breach occurs. Plaintiffs may recover millions of dollars in damages in these actions, which is only reasonable considering how damaging a data breach can be to a person’s personal finances, reputation, and/or credit score.
These cases may result in millions of dollars in damages for the plaintiffs.
After a data breach in 2015, Anthem agreed to pay $115 million to customers, making it the biggest data breach settlement in history. Affected customers will get credit monitoring services as well as reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenditures incurred as a result of the data breach.
Theirs is one of numerous multimillion-dollar settlements achieved after large data breaches (see “Notable Data Breaches in Other Sectors” above). After the data breach, Home Depot agreed to pay $19.5 million to customers: $13 million in damages reimbursement and $6.5 million in identity protection services. Sony settled a data breach lawsuit for $15 million and another for $8 million. Target paid a total of $10 million.
Companies, on the whole, prefer to settle issues outside of court rather than go to trial. This is particularly true when it comes to data breach claims, since there is essentially no precedence for these kind of cases in the courts. Companies like Home Depot and Sony have no clue what would happen if a data breach lawsuit went to trial, which is a terrifying scenario.
How Can Consumers Fight Back?
We are committed to assisting customers who have been harmed financially or reputationally as a consequence of a data breach. By initiating cases against the firms that were victims to these intrusive breaches, we help the public hold the powerful responsible.
We want to hear from you if your credit card information, social security number, or other sensitive information was taken as a consequence of a data breach. For a no-cost, no-obligation legal consultation, please contact us.
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The “experian data breach check” is a website that allows users to check whether their personal information was breached during the Equifax Data Breach. The site also has a link for filing a lawsuit against Equifax.
Frequently Asked Questions
Has anyone received money from Equifax breach?
A: There are currently no known cases of people receiving money from the Equifax breach.
When should I expect my Equifax settlement check?
A: If you submitted your dispute online and did not ask for a check, Equifax should have mailed your settlement by now.
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