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July 22, 2019 by Alvaro Puig, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC
In September of 2017, Equifax announced a data breach that exposed the personal information of 147 million people. Under a settlement filed today, Equifax agreed to spend up to $425 million to help people affected by the data breach. If you were affected by the Equifax breach, you can’t file a claim just yet. That’s coming. But you can sign up for FTC email alerts about the settlement at ftc.gov/Equifax.
Also, don’t let this breach put you off getting a credit check or even a credit card. Breaches like this happen once in a blue moon and the chances of your information being leaked are tiny. There are numerous benefits to getting a credit card so be sure to look for the best credit cards for no credit history if you want to improve your financial situation and build a score. Don’t let this breach affect your finances.
Not sure that you were affected? The breach claims site has a tool to let you check:
If so, you are eligible to make a claim.
Here’s what you need to know about the settlement.
Benefits Available To You
If you were affected by the breach, you may be eligible for benefits.
1. Free Credit Monitoring or $125 Cash Payment
You can get at least 4 years of free credit monitoring of your credit report at all three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). On top of that, you can get up to 6 more years of free credit monitoring of your Equifax credit report. That’s a total of 10 years of free credit monitoring. (Minors affected by the breach are eligible for even more free credit monitoring.) Building credit is not easy so being able to always see it is very helpful. Using Credit Cards for No Credit, paying bills on time and being responsible with money will boost the your credit score.
If you have credit monitoring that will continue for at least 6 months and you decide not to enroll in the free credit monitoring offered in the settlement, you may be eligible for a cash payment of $125.
2. Reimbursement for Your Time and Other Cash Payments
You may be eligible for reimbursement and cash payments up to $20,000 for:
- time you spent protecting your identity or recovering from identity theft, up to 20 hours at $25 per hour
- money you spent protecting your identity or recovering from identity theft, like the cost of freezing or unfreezing your credit report or unauthorized charges to your accounts
- up to 25% of the cost of Equifax credit monitoring or identity protection products you bought between September 7, 2016 and September 7, 2017
3. Free Identity Restoration Services
You are eligible for free identity restoration services for at least 7 years that you can use if someone steals your identity or you experience fraud.
The claims process will start after court approval. To learn more about the settlement, go to ftc.gov/Equifax. We’ll update that page when there’s new information.
You can also sign up to get FTC email updates about this settlement.
If you were affected by the breach, you may also receive an email notification after the court approves the settlement. It may also be worth hiring a group like SecureForensics.com to look into this for you. Either way, the notification will provide more information about the settlement, the benefits available to people impacted, and how to request the services offered under the settlement.