If you were one of the 147 million people whose data was exposed in the majorin 2017, you’ll soon be able to file your claim. The Federal Trade Commission announced on Monday that to help compensate the victims of hackers who stole data from Equifax customers. Settlement payments can cover what you spent to recover from the breach of the free credit report company — including recovering from the theft of your identity — and unauthorized charges to your account.
Taking part of the settlement isn’t totally straightforward. First, the proposed agreement has to receive court approval. Only then will you be able to file a claim. We provide tools and links below that will help you understand your next steps and what could be covered. If you want to get started now, however, you can collect documents you have that are related to the breach.
The breach in question resulted in hackers stealing Social Security numbers, addresses, credit-card and driver-license information, birth dates and other personal data stored on Equifax’s servers. As part of its investigation, the FTC alleged that the credit bureau failed to take reasonable steps to secure its network.
The exact amount that Equifax will pay out is undetermined. The proposed settlement will start with a $300 million fund to compensate affected consumers who bought credit-monitoring services. Equifax will also pay $175 million to state and districts — and $100 million to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in civil penalties.
If the initial $300 million infusion doesn’t adequately compensate consumers, according to the FTC, Equifax has agreed to add up to $125 million more to the fund, for a total possible settlement of $700 million. If you’re a claimant, your share of the settlement could include free credit-monitoring and identity-theft protection services. You might also be eligible for cash payments to cover expenses as a result of the breach — such as legal fees and credit monitoring — free help recovering from identity theft and free credit reports for 10 years.
Equifax will pay up to $700M over its historic data breach
Here’s how to take part in the settlement.
Once the court approves the settlement, you will be able to submit a claim to get back money you lost as a result of the wide-ranging hack. Here’s how to prepare to submit a claim.
If you want to check if your data was exposed, once the settlement has been approved, the FTC will have a website with a tool you can use to check if you were part of the breach. You can sign up for an FTC email update to learn when the site and tool are live.
The proposed agreement caps payouts at $20,000 per person to help cover what you spent to recover from the breach. Here are costs and expenses you may be able to recover.
In addition, beginning in 2020, Equifax will provide all US consumers — whether part of the settlement or not — with six additional free credit reports per year for seven years, from its website.
This is the information we know right now, with a lot of details still to come. We’re hoping that the FTC and Equifax share much more when the claims window opens. We’ll update this story when they do. In the meantime, here’s what to do if you’re not sure if you were affected by the Equifax breach.