At this point you would have to be living under a rock for the last 2 years to not have heard about the massive data breach that occurred in 2017 when nearly 147 million people had their information stolen from Equifax in one of the largest data breaches ever. Equifax has set up a special page to address the issue www.equifaxbreachsettlement.com. Equifax mentions "A federal court is considering a proposed class action settlement submitted on July 22, 2019, that, if approved by the Court, would resolve lawsuits brought by consumers after the data breach." 1. Free Credit Monitoring or $125 Cash Payment.
You can get free credit monitoring services. Or, if you already have credit monitoring services, you can request a $125 cash payment.
At least 4 years of three-bureau credit monitoring, offered through Experian. You can also get up to 6 more years of free one-bureau credit monitoring through Equifax.
If you already have credit monitoring services that will continue for at least 6 more months, you may be eligible for a cash payment of $125.
2. Other Cash Payments. You may also be eligible for the following cash payments up to $20,000 for:
the time you spent remedying fraud, identity theft, or other misuse of your personal information caused by the data breach, or purchasing credit monitoring or freezing credit reports, up to 20 total hours at $25 per hour.
out-of-pocket losses resulting from the data breach.
up to 25% of the cost of Equifax credit or identity monitoringproducts you paid for in the year before the data breach announcement
3. Free Identity Restoration Services: You are eligible for at least 7 years of free assisted identity restoration services to help you remedy the effects of identity theft and fraud.
What are the next steps you should take? This really depends on how much you are entitled to compensation. For most people the amount of money they are entitled to will depend on what action they took after the breach. Here is an easy list of some of the items you can be compensated for doing as a result of the breach you will have to know the approximate date and hours spent on each action:
Time/money spent pulling your credit or monitoring your credit
Time/money spent freezing your credit
Time/money spent fighting identity theft (does not have to be directly linked to the breach itself)
If the amount of time you spent on these items is less then 10 hours, then you will not need to add supporting documentation to your claim. If it is more than 10 hours, be prepared to justify your claim with supporting documentation showing the time you put into combating the data breach and/or other identity theft issues. If you are ready to make your claim, visit the Equifax website at: https://www.equifaxbreachsettlement.com If the extent of your damages are much higher or you have a more unique situation you may want to consult an attorney. Be sure to read the legal rights section on the page at the bottom but most of the deadlines to act are before Jan 22, 2020.