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 Monday, 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.
(Not sure that you were affected? Go to ftc.gov/Equifax where you will find a tool to let you check. )
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.