Equifax settles CUNA lawsuit over data breach for $5.5M

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Equifax has agreed to pay $5.5 million to settle a lawsuit over its 2017 data breach filed by the Credit Union National Association.

Roughly 147 million people had their personal information, including names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers, exposed in March 2017 when the credit reporting agency experienced a cybersecurity breach. The trade group filed the class action lawsuit in October 2017 over the incident.

Financial institutions that had “alerted-on payment cards” because of the breach can file claims under the settlement, according to a press release from CUNA on Friday. Class members can receive up to $4.50 per alerted-on payment card and up to $5,000 for damages suffered from customer personally identifiable information being stolen.

The company will also spend a minimum of $25 million to improve data security over the next two years and follow the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard as part of the settlement, according to the press release.

“Credit unions have borne substantial costs as a result of this massive data breach, and the settlement offers recourse on the path toward making affected credit unions whole again,” Jim Nussle, CUNA president and CEO, said in the press release. “Breaches like this are occurring on a regular basis, and the only thing that will prevent them in the future is a strong national data security standard that holds all entities accountable. CUNA and the leagues look forward to continuing our engagement with Congress to enact robust data security requirements for all who handle consumers’ personal information.”

Equifax did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In another class action lawsuit settlement, Equifax pledged to put at least $380.5 million in a “consumer restitution fund.” Under that case, consumers could file claims to get reimbursed for expenses tied to their information being exposed.

In July 2019, Equifax also agreed to pay up to $700 million to resolve state and federal investigations into the hack.

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Equifax Data breaches Cyber security Data security Credit reporting CUNA Lawsuits