USATODAY.com, By Kelly Tyko, Posted August 7th 2019
Equifax will pay at least $575 million in a settlement stemming from one of the biggest data security failures ever. USA TODAY
- There are levels of compensation for ID hacking, up to $20,000
- 10 years free credit monitoring or $125 is another type of compensation
- Deadline to file a claim is Jan. 22, 2020
If you were affected by the 2017 Equifax data breach, you can now file a claim for a piece of the settlement.
The credit-reporting company has agreed to pay between $575 million and $700 million to settle state and federal investigations related to a massive security incident that exposed the personal information of more than 147 million Americans two years ago.
The settlement, which was announced July 22 and is considered the largest ever for a data breach, has preliminary court approval.
The official settlement website, www.equifaxbreachsettlement.com, has been posted and is accepting claims.
To confirm you’re eligible to file a claim, enter your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number on the site or call the Settlement Administrator at 1-833-759-2982.
Filing a claim
There are two ways to file a claim. You can file online at www.equifaxbreachsettlement.com or by mail. If by mail, you can download and print the claim form, fill it out and mail it with any supporting documentation.
You also can request a claim form be mailed to you by calling 1-833-759-2982 or emailing them at info@EquifaxBreachSettlement.com.
The deadline to file a claim is Jan. 22, 2020. If you want to be excluded from the settlement, you need to send a written request postmarked no later than Nov. 19.
What you can get
Depending on how you were affected by the breach, you could be eligible for several types of compensation. Equifax will pay at least $380.5 million into a Consumer Restitution Fund.
You can get up to 10 years of free credit monitoring of your three credit reports at Experian, TransUnion and Equifax by an independent third-party service that will be determined by the court. Or, you can receive $125 if you already have a credit monitoring service and won’t enroll in the free one.
If you spent time or money dealing with an ID theft issue that occurred after the hack and involved personal data that was exposed by the breach, you can get compensated up to $20,000 per person. You can be reimbursed for the following:
Losses from unauthorized charges on your accounts
Cost of freezing or unfreezing your credit report
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
In some cases, documentation may be requested to show proof of “fraud, identity theft, or other alleged misuse of your personal information fairly traceable to the data breach,” the settlement website notes.
How long will this take?
According to the settlement website’s frequently asked questions, it’s expected to take several months or more before credit monitoring services will begin and payments will be made. This will start “after the Court enters a final judgment and the settlement becomes final.”
Beware of fake websites
The FTC is warning that there are “fake websites claiming to be the Equifax settlement claims website.” In a tweet, the FTC wrote: “To be sure you are going to the legitimate site, you can access it from the @ftc’s Equifax page: ftc.gov/Equifax.
Contributing: Nathan Bomey; Janna Herron; Dalvin Brown