Equifax Frequently Asked Questions

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The legal team will post more resources here as the case develops.

Equifax Data Breach Class-Action Lawsuit FAQ

Thousands of you have reached out to us for more information about the data breach and pending legal action, and about what you can do to protect your information. The answers below are questions we've received from those affected and have been answered by the Hagens Berman legal team.

Do you have a question for our legal team that is not answered below? Post it on Twitter with #AskBerman in the tweet, or email our legal team at equifax@hbsslaw.com. Using the hashtag will allow you to share your story and talk with others who have been affected. 

MY SIGN-UP INFORMATION:

Did you receive my information?
Am I represented by Hagens Berman?
Do I need to sign up both myself, and my spouse or partner?

ABOUT THE EQUIFAX CASE:

What is the case against Equifax about?
Should I sign up with you? If so, how do I do so?
What will I get out of this case?
What is the intended outcome?
What types of damages are you seeking in the class action?
How long will it take to resolve this?

How much money can I expect?
How many other firms will be filing suit?
What is the statute of limitations on a case like this?

WHAT STEPS SHOULD I TAKE TO PROTECT MY IDENTITY?

Equifax says my data has been breached. What do I do now?
If I sign up for Equifax, will I still be able to file a lawsuit?
Is it safe to submit six digits of my SSN to Equifax to see if my data has been breached?
My information may be at risk. What does this mean?
How do I know if my information has been stolen for sure?
How do I find out if my information is on the dark web?
Can we trust Equifax’s response?
What other resources exist for me?

REPRESENTATION:

If I submitted my information to you on your website or by email, do you represent me in this lawsuit?

FEE:

How much does it cost?

ABOUT THE PROCESS:

There are multiple cases filed against Equifax. Why?
How does a class action work?
I've already joined a class action. Is it OK to join more than one suit?
What is a class representative?
What would I have to do?
Will I have to travel?
Does it cost anything? Will I be paid?
Why should I do it?
What happens next?

WHAT TO EXPECT:

What are next steps?
What else can I do?

ABOUT HAGENS BERMAN:

Why should I sign up with Hagens Berman?
If I sign up with Hagens Berman what can I expect?

CONTACT:

How do I ask questions about the case against Equifax?
What’s the quickest way to get a response from the legal team?

TECHNICAL ISSUES:

What do I do if I cannot access the Portal, or fill out a form?


MY SIGN-UP INFORMATION:


Did you receive my information?

  • If you signed into Hagens Berman’s User Portal, your information has been received and is in our database.
  • If you have sent an email to our legal team, please be patient. Our attorneys have received hundreds of responses. They are working as fast as they can to respond to you. If you have not signed into the User Portal, you may do so by filling out the form on the Equifax case page.
  • If you have faxed an R&R, we will be responding to you with a confirmation. Thank you for your patience.
  • If you have left a voice mail for Steve Berman, Tom Loeser, Rob Lopez or any other member of Hagens Berman's team, these have all been forwarded to the Equifax legal team. They are responding to these calls.

Am I represented by Hagens Berman?
Generally speaking, class members are not represented until and unless the court certifies the case against Equifax as a class action and appoints class counsel.  However, if you have filled out and agreed to the Rights and Responsibilities document, and you are selected to serve as a class representative plaintiff, then for purposes of the class action, you will be individually represented by Hagens Berman for the scope set forth in that agreement.

Do I need to sign up both myself, and my spouse or partner?
Equifax tracks persons individually, not as couples. As a result, both you and your spouse/partner may have individual claims against Equifax if you each had your information compromised in the Equifax data breach. Whether you each sign up, or only one of you, it will not affect your claims.

ABOUT THE equifax CASE:

What is the case against Equifax about?
This case is brought on behalf of persons whose personally identifying information (PII) has been compromised as a result of the data breach at Equifax that was first disclosed on Sept. 7, 2017.

Should I sign up with you? If so, how do I do so?
You can sign up to receive information from us as a class member, or you can seek to have us represent you as a named class representative plaintiff by filling out the Rights and Responsibilities document. Those who sign up for the case here, will receive access to this document.

What will I get out of this case?
It is too early to know what the end result will be. We are going to fight for the best possible outcome for class members, which will include at least a comprehensive suite of identity theft prevention and detection, as well as a substantial fund to offset costs incurred by victims of the Equifax data breach.

What is the intended outcome?
Hagens Berman are nationally recognized trial attorneys. We will pursue this data breach caseall the way through trial and appeal, unless Equifax agrees to a settlement that will genuinely protect class members and fully compensate them for damages resulting from the Equifax data breach.

What types of damages are you seeking in the class action?
In our class actions, we seek for each class member the damages they incurred as a result of the defendant’s willful or negligent malfeasance. Such damages may include:

  • Identity theft detection and prevention services
  • Reimbursement of victims out-of-pocket costs and expenses
  • Compensation for time spent dealing with the aftermath of the data breach
  • Damages in the event class members are victims of identity theft
  • Punitive damages

How long will it take to resolve this?
Cases of this nature usually take between one and four years to resolve.

How much money can I expect?
At this early stage of the litigation it is difficult to predict what compensation each class member will ultimately receive. If a settlement is reached that the court rules is fair, reasonable and adequate, then the money obtained from that settlement must be distributed to class members in a manner that the court determines to be fair and equitable.

How many other firms will be filing suit?
There will likely be dozens, if not hundreds of law firms filing suits throughout the country. These suits will all be consolidated for pre-trial purposes with a single court and that court will select a small group of lawyers and firms to organize and manage the litigation as lead counsel.

What is the statute of limitations on a case like this?
The statute of limitations can vary depending upon the state law applicable and the causes of action asserted. However, in this case, the statute of limitations will last at the very least a year, and it did not start until the disclosure of the data breach on Sept. 7, 2017.

WHAT STEPS SHOULD I TAKE TO PROTECT MY IDENTITY?

Equifax says my data has been breached. What do I do now?
Equifax is offering all US consumers free credit monitoring through their website. This service may provide limited protection and notification of identity theft. However, this service is limited to credit inquiries sent to Equifax, and there are three other credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, Innovis). Many experts are recommending that consumers freeze their credit at all three of the credit bureaus. You may be charged for instituting a freeze. If you are, be sure to keep a record of what you paid to protect yourself from identity theft.

If I sign up for Equifax, will I still be able to file a lawsuit?
Yes. Equifax has made it clear that its arbitration and class-action waivers will not apply to claims relating to and stemming from the data breach disclosed on Sept. 7, 2017.

Should I freeze my accounts for $10/month? Do I need to do it at all credit bureaus?
Many experts are recommending a credit freeze because of the depth of information (including DOB, SSN and drivers’ license numbers) that was made available to criminals as a result of the data breach. If you chose to freeze your credit, you should do it at all of the credit bureaus and be sure to keep receipts for any amounts that you paid.

Is it safe to submit six digits of my SSN to Equifax to see if my data has been breached?
Some commentators have suggested that it may not be safe to submit your last six digits of your SSN because the first three digits are derived from the location of your original SSN application. However, there has been no indication that the SSL encryption and security in use on the Equifax website related to the data breach has itself been compromised. Thus, it is unlikely that submitting this information would create a new PII vulnerability. Ultimately, however, you will have to decide whether or not to use the website to check on your PII. 

My information may be at risk. What does this mean?
Equifax has not provided a complete explanation of what this means. It is our hope that Equifax will definitively and directly notify every victim of its data breach, and we will do whatever we can to require Equifax to do that. Many states have laws that require it to promptly do so.

How do I know if my information has been stolen for sure?
We are not presently aware of any way to know for sure whether your information was in the data breach. If Equifax provides a method to know for sure, we will send an update out to all who have contacted us. 

How do I find out if my information is on the dark web?
Some companies (notably Experian) purport to offer a service of scanning the “dark web” for your information. At present, we are not aware of what exactly these companies are doing or how accurate or reliable their services are. If you elect to use any pay service as a result of the Equifax data breach, be sure to save receipts showing your payments.

Can we trust Equifax’s response?
Equifax appears to be taking improving steps to provide support to the victims of its data breach. We believe its response continues to be woefully inadequate and through our lawsuit we will seek to obtain bona fide protection from identity theft for victims, as well as damages. You will have to decide for yourself the extent to which you want to continue to interact with Equifax.

What other resources exist for me?
Repair Credit – Identitytheft.gov more >
Protecting Against Credit Card Fraud – Federal Trade Commission more >
How to Keep Your Personal Information Secure – Federal Trade Commission more >

REPRESENTATION:


If I submitted my information to you on your website or by email, do you represent me in this lawsuit?
In a class-action lawsuit, when the case is first filed, the lawyers who file it have a formal attorney-client relationship only with the class representative plaintiffs who are named in the lawsuit that is filed.

Hagens Berman is offering all individuals the option to request to be considered for serving as a class representative. You must submit the Rights and Responsibility form found in the User Portal to be considered.

(First fill out the form here. Then, check your email for access to the User Portal. Last, find the Rights and Responsibilities form in the Portal.)

Our legal team will review your submission and reach to you to further discuss the class representative role. If you are selected to serve as a class representative plaintiff, then you will have an attorney-client relationship with the firm.

If you are not selected to be a class representative plaintiff, or if you do not wish to be a class representative plaintiff, then you and all of the other persons in the class will be represented by the lawyers selected by the court to serve as class counsel. Until then, we will not have a formal attorney-client relationship with you, but we will keep you posted about any material events in the lawsuit, and you may contact us to answer any questions you may have about the case against Equifax.

FEE:


How much does it cost?
There is no cost or fee whatsoever involved in joining the lawsuit. In the event Hagens Berman or any other firm obtains a settlement or judgment that provides benefits to class members, the court will decide a reasonable fee to be awarded to the lawyers for class members. Any such fee may be paid separately from damages by Equifax, or it may be deducted from the class-wide settlement before funds are distributed to individual class members. In no case, however, will any class member ever be asked to pay any out-of-pocket sum to the class lawyers.

ABOUT THE PROCESS:


There are multiple cases filed against Equifax. Why?
Anyone can file a lawsuit. There are many consumers who want to sue Equifax, and many lawyers who want to be part of the lawsuits. All of the Equifax cases, however, will be consolidated to a single court for pretrial purposes, and that court will choose a select few firms to manage the litigation.

How does a class action work?
In a class action, the plaintiffs ask the judge to certify a class which allows a decision on the merits of the Equifax case to be decided after presenting the facts related to a representative plaintiff’s experience. This way, the rights of hundreds, or in this case about 143 million people can be efficiently decided without each person having to present their individual case to the court. If liability is found or if the case is settled, a judgment or settlement amount is obtained to pay for everyone’s damages. That settlement or judgment fund is then distributed to all class members based on a formula determined by the court to be fair and reasonable.

I've already joined a class action. Is it OK to join more than one suit?
“Joining” a class action is a bit of a misnomer. In fact, everyone who is a victim of the Equifax data breach will automatically be a class member if any case, or a consolidated case, is certified as a class action by the judge, and that victim does not affirmatively “opt-out” of the class case.

What is a class representative? 
A class representative serves as a proxy for all plaintiffs in the state that they live in. There may be more than one class representative per state. A class representative is named as a plaintiff in the lawsuit, and the class representative’s experience with the Equifax data breach would be included within the complaint. A class representative is consulted about major developments in the case. For example, if there is a proposed settlement in the case, the class representative would be informed of the terms and his/her opinion would be considered in deciding whether the settlement terms offered are sufficient to resolve the case. 
 
What would I have to do?
As a class representative, your initial obligation will be to spend some time collecting documents relating to any interaction you have had with Equifax. We will send you a copy of the lawsuit before we file it so that you can ensure that any information about your interaction with Equifax is correct. If the Equifax case proceeds into extended discovery, which may not happen, you may also have to be available for one day to be interviewed by Equifax’s lawyers in a deposition. We would be your lawyers if that were to happen.
 
Will I have to travel?
It is very unlikely you would have to travel anywhere for this case.
 
Does it cost anything? Will I be paid?
There is no cost to you associated with becoming a class representative. Any costs associated with the lawsuit will be paid by our law firm and you will have no obligation at any time to pay anything. Typically, at the end of the case, the judge will order a service award to class representatives in recognition of the effort involved in being an effective and cooperative class representative. However, we cannot guarantee that the judge will do so.
 
Why should I do it?
A great class representative plaintiff is one whose main motivation for becoming class representative is that they want to personally hold the defendant (Equifax) accountable. If you feel betrayed, cheated, or victimized by Equifax and want to take an active role in holding Equifax accountable, then you would likely be a great class representative. If you want to make a tangible difference in this case by representing similarly affected consumers from your home state then you would be a great class representative.
 
What happens next?
If you sign up to be a class representative, we will reach out to you to make sure that we know how you have been affected. We will then draft that portion of the complaint that pertains to you and give you an opportunity to review it before we file the lawsuit. Because this will be a nationwide case against Equifax  with many lawsuits filed, not much will happen after the filing of the complaint for several months. There will ultimately be a hearing where a panel of judges will decide on a single court where all the Equifax cases will be sent. That receiving court will then hear argument and decide on one or more law firms and lawyers to lead the case on behalf of all class representatives.

WHAT TO EXPECT:


What are next steps?
We will file one or more lawsuits in the next couple of weeks. If you wish to be considered for class representative, and are selected to do so, we will work with you on the complaint. If you want to be a class member only, you do not need to do anything, and we will keep you posted on major events in the Equifax case.

What else can I do?
As long as you have provided us your information, we will let you know if anything else needs to be done with respect to our cases. You should review your options online, as noted above, with respect to protecting yourself from identity theft.

ABOUT HAGENS BERMAN: 


Why should I sign up with Hagens Berman?
Hagens Berman has tremendous experience and an extensive track record in obtaining big judgments and settlements for consumers against major corporations. Our track record is available for your review on our website.

If I sign up with Hagens Berman what can I expect?
You can expect that our firm will fight vigorously for your rights as a consumer and right the wrong that Equifax has committed. Our firm has secured major victories for consumers in numerous cases and will hold Equifax responsible for this tremendous loss to millions of consumers.

CONTACT:


How do I ask questions about the case against Equifax?
Use the hashtag #askberman on Twitter, and please be patient, as our legal team has received thousands of responses. If you feel there is something very important, you may email our legal team directly using equifax@hbsslaw.com.

What’s the quickest way to get a response from the legal team?
Log in to the User Portal to quickly and securely message Hagens Berman’s Equifax legal team.

TECHNICAL ISSUES:

What do I do if I cannot access the Portal, or fill out a form?
If you’re having technical issues with our forms, website or User Portal, please contact Heidi Waggoner at heidiw@hbsslaw.com or 206-268-9318 (email is preferred).