Remember the huge Equifax security breach that exposed the Social Security numbers and other info of nearly 150 million people in 2017? If you were one of them, youíll be pleased to hear that a class action settlement is almost a done deal.
In a recently announced settlement, Equifax will pay up to $700 million to settle with the Federal Trade Commission and others. Itís a mix of legal fines, government fees and compensation for impacted consumers. The deal is awaiting approval by a Federal Court. Once that happens, the proposed settlement will allow the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to provide up to $425 million in monetary relief to consumers. It also includes a $100 million civil money penalty and other relief.
If you were impacted by the breach you could be eligible for:
- Free Credit Monitoring or $125 Cash Payment. You can get free credit monitoring services. Or, if you already have credit monitoring services that will continue for at least 6 more months, you can request a $125 cash payment.
NOTE: A July 31, 2019 FTC blog post notes that the public response to the settlement has been overwhelming.
Because the amount of money set aside for the cash payment option is capped at $31 million, consumers who select that option may not receive the $125 they had expected.
For those who have not submitted a claim, the FTC is recommending
that affected consumers consider choosing the free credit monitoring service, which is worth hundreds of dollars and comes with identity theft insurance and restoration services.
- Other Cash Payments. You may also be eligible for the following cash payments up to $20,000 for:
- the time you spent remedying fraud, identity theft, or other misuse of your personal information caused by the data breach, or purchasing credit monitoring or freezing credit reports, up to 20 total hours at $25 per hour.
- out-of-pocket losses resulting from the data breach.
- up to 25% of the cost of Equifax credit or identity monitoring products you paid for in the year before the data breach announcement.
- Free Identity Restoration Services: You are eligible for at least 7 years of free assisted identity restoration services to help you remedy the effects of identity theft and fraud.
FTC SETTLEMENT WEBSITE
Consumers can find out more about the settlement, sign up for alerts and file a claim at ftc.gov/Equifax
. Youíll need to enter some personal information to see if you are eligible, your last name and last six digits of your SSN.
WATCH OUT FOR SCAMS
Make sure you only use the Federal Trade Commission settlement website. In this tweet, the FTC warns consumers to be wary of fake websites that claim to be the settlement website:
Also note, the FTC says
you never have to pay to file a claim for these benefits and if youíre getting a call from someone who is trying to get you to file a claim over the phone itís a scam.For more on what to do if your identity has been stolen click here.