Equifax, a major consumer credit reporting agency, will pay millions to settle a data breach that occurred in 2017. The breach exposed personal credit information of approximately 147 million people, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
Equifax to pay up to $700 million
The Federal Trade Commission announced Monday the firm would pay the penalty up to $700 million to help people who were impacted by the data breach. This penalty includes compensation to those affected and credit monitoring services.
Consumers are encouraged to see whether they are entitled to compensation by visiting ftc.gov/equifax.
Compensation may be up to $20,000 per person
Upon final approval, consumers are expected to receive compensation if they qualify. Those that were affected can expect free credit monitoring service up to ten years or a check for $125 if they already have credit monitoring services.
Also, those who incurred expenses or additional time as a result of the breach can expect reimbursement up to $20,000. This includes unauthorized charges, credit monitoring costs, fees paid to accountants or attorneys, and also for your time incurred (up to $25 per hour up to 20 hours). Consumers can file claims now and have until January 22, 2020, to qualify. Starting on January 23, 2020, consumers can expect payments.
Free resources available without filing a claim
Even if you do not file a claim, you are still eligible for free resources. These resources include free identity restoration services if you later discover misuse of your personal information. Also, starting in 2020, all U.S. consumers can get up to six (6) free credit reports per year from Equifax. Keep in mind; you are still entitled to free credit reports from annualcreditreport.com.
For more information, check out ftc.gov/equifax.