Equifax, one of the three major credit bureaus in the US, reached an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to compensate those affected by the 2017 security breach of their servers.
What We Know:
- In 2017, Equifax lost control of 143 million customers’ private information to hackers, including Social Security numbers, home addresses, credit card numbers and drivers license numbers. The company immediately set up a program, Trusted ID, to help protect the exposed data, though it is unclear how early the breach began; Equifax learned about the breach on July 29, 2017 but did not report it for over a month.
- The company will pay between $575 and $700 million in total settlements for the breach. Individuals who signed up for Trusted ID following the breach are eligible to file a claim for $125. Unfortunately, in a vast majority of cases, customers have not been notified of this opportunity. Additionally, individuals can receive reimbursements for 25 percent of their credit monitoring or identity theft protection subscriptions from September 7, 2016, to September 7, 2017. Individuals can file claims for up to $20,000 to cover the costs of recovering from the breach, including theft of identity or freezing accounts.
- Though Equifax has not been overly transparent about how to file for data breach claims, many news outlets have posted articles detailing how to receive these benefits. The claims process began last week and will run through January 22, 2020; Consumers can submit claims for time spent dealing with the data breach at $25 an hour for up to 20 hours. The FTC has issued a warning for fake websites meant to look like the official Equifax settlement website, explaining that settlement claims will never cost money, so any website asking for money is fake.
- Equifax has a long history of helping other companies recover from similar breaches. Companies like Target, Home Depot and Sony have turned to Equifax to offer free credit monitoring after security breaches. Although its offering Trusted ID for its own data breach, many feel wary of re-trusting the company with their information.
Check if you are eligible for a claim using Equifax’s data breach settlement eligibility website, provided by the FTC.