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Equifax to pay up to $700M in data breach settlement

Equifax CEO out after massive data hack
Posted at 7:28 AM, Jul 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-22 17:58:03-04

WASHINGTON (AP) — Equifax will pay up to $700 million to settle with the Federal Trade Commission and others over a 2017 data breach that exposed Social Security numbers and other private information of nearly 150 million people.

The proposed settlement with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, if approved by the federal district court Northern District of Georgia, will provide up to $425 million in monetary relief to consumers, a $100 million civil money penalty, and other relief. The bureau coordinated its investigation with the Federal Trade Commission and attorneys general from across the U.S.

“They have been trusted with all of our information, people check them to make sure our background’s are clean and our finances are good,” said Chris Burrows, senior vice president of security solutions for CBI.

The announcement Monday confirms a report by The Wall Street Journal that the credit reporting agency had reached a deal with the U.S.

Burrows is a cyber security expert. His personal information was also compromised by the Equifax breach, which he finds ironic.

“Goes to show you even people like myself could be affected,” he said.

You can claim time spent on protecting your identity — and any losses you took tied to this breach for up to $20,000.

“It’s probably going to be hard to make that claim just for the fact that there hasn’t been any known release of the information on the dark web to then be sold,” Burrows said.

He adds that the best thing to do is freeze your credit and check your finances often.

Here is information from the FTC.

To get the free credit monitoring or cash payments described below, you must file a claim when the claims process begins.

You cannot file a claim yet.

Once the claims process begins, if you were affected by the breach, you can request:

Free Credit Monitoring and Identity Theft Protection Services

  • Up to 10 years of free credit monitoring OR $125 if you decide not to enroll because you already have credit monitoring. The free credit monitoring includes:
    • At least four years of free credit monitoring of your credit report at all three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) and $1,000,000 of identity theft insurance.
    • Up to six more years of free credit monitoring of your Equifax credit report.
  • If you were a minor in May 2017, you are eligible for a total of 18 years of free credit monitoring.

Cash Payments (capped at $20,000 per person)

  • For expenses you paid as a result of the breach, like:
    • Losses from unauthorized charges to your accounts
    • The cost of freezing or unfreezing your credit report
    • The cost of credit monitoring
    • Fees you paid to professionals like an accountant or attorney
    • Other expenses like notary fees, document shipping fees and postage, mileage, and phone charges
  • For the time you spent dealing with the breach. You can be compensated $25 per hour up to 20 hours.
  • For the cost of Equifax credit monitoring and related services you had between September 7, 2016, and September 7, 2017, capped at 25 percent of the total amount you paid.

Free Help Recovering from Identity Theft

  • For at least seven years, you can get free identity restoration services.

Free Credit Reports for All U.S. Consumers

  • Starting in 2020, all U.S. consumers can get 6 additional free credit reports per year for 7 years from the Equifax website.

FAQSWhat can I do now?

  • Save any documents you have related to your efforts to avoid or recover from identity theft after the 2017 Equifax data breach.
  • Sign up to get email updates about this settlement.
  • Bookmark and check this page for updates.
  • Visit www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com or call 1-833-759-2982 for more information.

When will the claims process start?The claims process will start after court approval. We will update this page when we have more information.
When will I get my benefits?The settlement administrator will not send out any benefits until the initial claims period deadline has passed. We will update this page when we have more information.

How will I get my benefits?For free credit monitoring, you will get an activation code with instructions. You can choose to receive this code by email or postal mail when you file your claim.
For cash payments, you can choose to get a check or debit card when you file your claim. It will be sent to your mailing address.

I’m not sure I was affected by the data breach. How can I find out?The claims site will have a tool to let you check. Sign up for an FTC email update to find out when that tool is up and running.