Earlier this week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that Equifax had agreed to a settlement that would see the credit bureau paying out up to $700 million. This settlement is meant to compensate consumers and states that suffered damages due to the credit bureau’s massive data breach that was made public in September of 2017. Now a website allowing those affected by the breach to file their claims has launched.
At EquifaxBreachSettlement.com (accessible via FTC.gov/Equifax), individuals can first check to see if they were one of the estimated 147 million people impacted by the hack and are eligible to become class members. To do this, customers can submit their last name as well as the last six digits of their Social Security Number. Class members can then use the site to file a claim or, if they prefer, print out a form available on the site and mail it to the provided address.
When filing a claim, class members can elect to either receive either four years of three-bureau credit monitoring through Experian and six more years of free one-bureau credit monitoring from Equifax or $125 in cash. However the latter option is only available to those who currently have credit monitoring services and will continue to have them for at least six more months. Additionally affected parties can file to receive $25 per hour up to 20 hours for time they spent remedying fraud issues, purchasing credit monitoring, freezing credit reports, etc. Finally customers can also request compensation for out-of-pocket losses that resulted from the breach and be reimbursed for up to 25% of the cost of Equifax credit or identity monitoring products purchased in the year prior to the 2017 hack. Once claims are submitted, class members will receive a confirmation number they can use to track the status.
It’s important to note that these payouts won’t be available until the settlement is finalized. There are also deadlines that class members will need to meet in order to receive their compensation. First, those who wish to exclude themselves from this settlement (typically done if you plan to pursue legal action of your own) must do so before November 19th, 2019. As for claims, most must be submitted and/or postmarked by January 22th, 2020. Lastly the aforementioned EquifaxBreachSettlement.com site is not operated by Equifax themselves but by the settlement administrator.
For those who were impacted by Equifax’s data hack, hopefully this settlement will allow them to get at least some compensation for what they lost. However the effects of this breach could still persist for several years to come. That’s why it’s important for individuals to stay vigilant and continue to monitor their credit to help protect themselves from scammers, identity thieves, and other bad actors.
Originally published at Dyer News.