The Data Breach
In September of 2017, Equifax announced the discovery of a data breach that exposed information about nearly 148 million people. The information exposed included Social Security numbers and home addresses, along with other information useful to identity thieves. The company has agreed to a global settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and 50 U.S. states and territories.
Ironically, at the same time, the settlement was announced another substantial data breach involving a major financial services company (this time it’s CapitalOne) took place. Given these events, we wanted to provide some beneficial, easily actionable information regarding the Equifax data breach from 2017.
Equifax has reached a settlement with government regulators to pay for its massive 2017 data breach. The agreement,announced on July 29, includes $300 million for a fund for affected consumers with credit monitoring services and those who bought credit or identity monitoring services in the wake of the breach.
How to File a Claim
If your personal data was exposed in the breach, you are entitled to file a claim. As part of the settlement, you may also register to recover the money you paid to protect yourself from identity theft. Moreover, if you signed up for credit monitoring, you can file a claim for $125 to cover that out-of-pocket expense. You don’t need any documentation to register for the $125 in compensation, and you can do so online.
Here’s how to file a claim for the Equifax breach settlement:
- Start at the official online site to check if you were part of the Equifax breach: https://eligibility.equifaxbreachsettlement.com/en/eligibility
- Enter your last name and last six digits of your social security number to see if your data was stolen.
- To claim losses from identity theft, select that program if you are eligible. You will need to include documents supporting your claim. These documents will range from bank to credit card statements showing unauthorized charges, and the costs of freezing and unfreezing your account. The documentation should also include professional fees paid to accountants and lawyers to deal with the matter. You can file a claim for up to $20,000 in actual costs.
- If you signed up for a credit-monitoring service as a result of the breach, you are eligible to receive a cash payment of $125. Requesting the $125 does not prohibit you from submitting a claim to be compensated for other expenses and financial losses.
Unfortunately, as the CapitalOne data breach demonstrates, this is not likely to be the last time your data will be compromised. Consequently, monitoring your credit records will be an ongoing effort. Although $125 is not much compensation, it is at least something.
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