Press Release

Attorney General Ellison and 49 other AGs secure settlement from Equifax in largest data-breach in history

$600M settlement includes up to $425 million in consumer restitution — comes after investigation into massive 2017 data breach that affected 147M Americans

July 22, 2019 (SAINT PAUL) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison today announced that a coalition of 50 attorneys general from 48 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico has reached a settlement with Equifax as the result of an investigation into a massive 2017 data breach. It is the largest data-breach enforcement action in history.

The investigation found that Equifax’s failure to maintain a reasonable security system enabled hackers to penetrate its systems, exposing the data of 56 percent of American adults — the largest-ever breach of consumer data. The attorneys general secured a settlement with Equifax that includes a Consumer Restitution Fund of up to $425 million, a $175 million payment to the states, and injunctive relief, which also includes a significant financial commitment.

“Equifax put the sensitive personal information of over two million Minnesotans at risk. That’s nearly half of all Minnesota adults,” Attorney General Ellison said. “We took action to hold Equifax accountable for its misconduct and to ensure Minnesotans’ sensitive personal information is treated with the safety, dignity, and respect that it deserved from the start.”

On September 7, 2017, Equifax, one of the largest consumer reporting agencies in the world, announced a data breach affecting more than 147 million consumers. Breached information included Social Security numbers, names, dates of birth, addresses, credit card numbers, and in some cases, driver’s license numbers.

Shortly after, a coalition that grew to 50 Attorneys General launched a multi-state investigation into the breach. The investigation found that the breach occurred because Equifax failed to implement an adequate security program to protect consumers’ highly sensitive personal information. Despite knowing about a critical vulnerability in its software, Equifax failed to fully patch its systems. Moreover, Equifax failed to replace software that monitored the breached network for suspicious activity. As a result, the attackers penetrated Equifax’s system and went unnoticed for 76 days.

Under the terms of the settlement, Equifax agreed to provide a single Consumer Restitution Fund of up to $425 million — with $300 million dedicated to consumer redress. If the $300 million is exhausted, the Fund can increase by up to an additional $125 million. The company will also offer affected consumers extended credit-monitoring services for a total of 10 years.

In addition to the up to $425 million that Equifax will provide for consumer redress, it also agreed to pay directly to the states a total of $175 million. This amount includes nearly $2 million for the State of Minnesota.

Equifax has also agreed to take several steps to assist consumers who are either facing identity-theft issues or who have already had their identities stolen, including, but not limited to, terms that:

In addition, Equifax has agreed to strengthen its security practices going forward, including by:

Consumers who are eligible for redress will be required to submit claims online or by mail. Paper claims forms can also be requested over the phone. Consumers will be able to obtain information about the settlement, check their eligibility to file a claim, and file a claim on the Equifax Settlement Breach online registry. To receive email updates regarding the launch of this online registry, consumers can sign up at Consumers can also call the settlement administrator at 1-833-759-2982 for more information. The program to pay restitution to consumers will be conducted in connection with settlements that have been reached in the multi-district class actions filed against Equifax, as well as settlements that were reached with the Federal Trade Commission and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

In addition to Attorney General Ellison, the other attorneys general participating in this settlement hail from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. They are also joined by the attorneys general of Puerto Rico, Texas, and West Virginia.