Rhode Island is entitled to a piece of an up to $425 million settlement with Equifax following a massive datat reach that exposed the personal data of millions of Americans. The state will receive $1 million from the company, while individual customers can submit claims once the settlement is approved.
The settlement comes from a massive lawsuit from attorneys general across the country, including 48 states, Washington, DC and Puerto Rico following a massive data breach that left 56 percent of Americans exposed, the largest of its kind. In Rhode Island, approximately 500,000 residents were affected.
“This is an important win for consumers,” Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha said. “As sensitive data becomes more and more vulnerable to online hackers, the need for adequate security systems and privacy measures is paramount. Our Office will continue to stand up for Rhode Island consumers.”
Once the settlement is approved, consumers across the country will receive a share of up to $425 million, while the state of Rhode Island will receive $1 million.
According to Neronha’s office, the investigation found the Equifax did not properly secure their systems, allowing hackers to access private consumer data. As part of the settlement, the company is required to pay restitution to affected people and states as well as improve security.
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“While this is a good result, I know my office can do more for consumers,” Neronha said. “We need the right consumer protection tools in place so we can play an even larger role in ensuring that the people of our state are protected from harm and Rhode Island is getting its fair share of these types of settlements, as we proposed with our amendments to the Deceptive Trade Practices Act and other consumer protection laws last session. Those amendments would have provided the State with broader legal remedies and our office with the resources necessary to enforce those remedies.”
Once the settlement is approved, affected customers will be able to submit claims either online or by mail. To sign up to be notified when the settlement is prepared, call the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit at 401-274-4400 or sing up on the Federal Trade Commission’s website. Along with financial restitution, consumers will have access to credit-monitoring services for up to a decade.