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.
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
Cash Payments (capped at $20,000 per person)
Free Help Recovering from Identity Theft
Free Credit Reports for All U.S. Consumers
FAQSWhat can I do now?
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.