If you were one of the 147 million Americans affected by the Equifax data breach in 2017, you can now apply for reimbursement. After agreeing to the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) terms, Equifax must now pay at least $575 million and up to $700 million in compensation to victims of the Equifax data breach. Were you affected? If so, these are your settlement options.
I was Affected by the Equifax Data Breach. What are My Options?
If you’ve found out you were affected by the breach, you have two options:
1. Get four years of free credit monitoring from Experian
This covers the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion). Considering Experian’s basic credit monitoring is advertised at $19.99 per month, four years of free service could save you a total of $959.52. In a blog post, the FTC’s Assistant Director of Privacy and Identity Protection, Robert Schoshinski even stated that “frankly, the free credit monitoring is worth a lot more.”
What is Credit Monitoring?
Credit monitoring allows you to periodically review your credit report (from all three bureaus) for accuracy and changes that could indicate that your identity is stolen. If you see any unfamiliar changes to your credit report—for example, opening up a new credit card or loan—you can then take the steps to recover your identity. Learn more.
2. Cash Out
If you already have credit monitoring and plan to keep it for at least 6 months, you can choose to be reimbursed via a prepaid card or check. Keep in mind that the total alternative reimbursement claims amount will be divvied up proportionally to each consumer with an approved claim.
Considering the odds (there can be no more than 248,000 approved claims out of the total 147 million consumers to get the full $125), it is unlikely you’ll get the full $125 reimbursement.
I Have Other Costs! Here's How to Get Reimbursed.
If you spent time protecting yourself following the breach, you can get up to $25 an hour in reimbursement. However, you must have documentation showing you dealt with fraud after the breach (up to 20 hours) or showcase up to 10 hours spent freezing/unfreezing credit and researching or purchasing identity theft protection services.
If you incurred any additional costs – credit monitoring, legal expenses, postage, etc. – you can provide documentation and apply for up to $20,000 (per person) in cost reimbursement. Both the time reimbursement and out-of-pocket cost reimbursement have their own allotted reimbursements funds from the settlement – so you can apply without worry that your chances of getting a reimbursement are affected by those choosing to cash out.
Don’t wait to check if you were affected by the Equifax data breach! Consumers (like yourself) have until January 22, 2020 to file a claim online or via mail.
What Steps Do You Take To Protect Your Personal Information?
Let us know in the comments!