Catawba County News
Equifax Data Breach Update
Published: July 26, 2019
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.
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.) 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.
If you were affected by the Equifax breach, you can file a claim, start at ftc.gov/Equifax. There, you can use a tool to find out if your information – like your Social Security number (SSN) – was exposed in the breach, learn about benefits, and start your claim to get free credit monitoring and maybe even cash. If your info was exposed in the breach, the settlement will give you up to 10 years of free credit monitoring. That means you’ll get an alert whenever somebody checks your credit history, opens a new loan or credit card in your name, or says a payment is late. So if somebody has, say, your SSN and tries to use it to get a loan, this free credit monitoring service would let you know right away. That’s the kind of information that might make a real difference when you apply for a job, try to rent an apartment, or apply for credit. And a word on the cash: there are several ways to get reimbursed for the time or money you spent dealing with the after-effects of the breach. Read more at ftc.gov/Equifax, but here’s something to consider. To get paid back for up to ten hours of your time, you just need to say what you were doing for those ten hours. Check out ftc.gov/Equifax to learn more, and be sure to file your claim by January 22, 2020.