Equifax Breach: How to Get Your Settlement
In 2017, Equifax experienced a large scale data breach exposing the names, addresses, birthdates and Social Security numbers of 147 million Americans.
On July 22, Equifax settled with the US Federal Trade Commission over the breach. Of the $700 million settlement, as much as $425 million could go to individuals for compensation.
Considering how many Americans were affected by the leak, it’s likely you could possibly qualify for some form of compensation through the settlement. Equifax is currently offering a choice between 10 years of free credit monitoring or $125 if you already have ongoing credit monitoring with any service.
Below is a rundown of what you need to know.
How do I know if I was affected?
On the Equifax Data Breach Settlement website there is a look-up tool that will allow you to immediately find out if you were one of the Americans impacted.
How do I get my settlement?
After using the look-up tool, if you were affected the system will prompt you through a process to file your claim. If you choose the money over the credit monitoring, you will choose your payout method of either a check or a prepaid debit card.
When will I get my settlement?
If you filed a claim for cash payout, distributions will begin after final approval is given by the court, which is set for December 19.
What if my identity was stolen?
Outlined in the settlement, individuals who experienced identity theft as a result of the breach are eligible for seven years of free identity restoration services according to the FTC. If you discover your information has been used, you can call the FTC settlement administrator for help.
What if I opt out?
You have the option to opt out of the settlement. This does not mean you forfeit your rights to file your own suit against Equifax.
In the settlement, individuals that can prove they took a hit above $125 could receive $25 for every hour spent recovering from an Equifax-related identity theft. That deal has been capped at $20,000 per individual proving damage. Don’t opt out of the settlement if you want to take that option.
If you believe your damages exceed $20,000, consulting with an attorney about a separate suit could be an option for you.
What is the Equifax settlement deadline?
The deadline to opt out of the settlement is November 19, and the deadline to file a claim is January 22, 2020. If you don’t opt out or file a claim by deadline, you relinquish your right to sue Equifax in the future and you give up compensation offered in the settlement.
As this article was being written, we went through the process (test subject came up as affected) and completed the claim. The entire process took approximately 7 minutes to complete. It may be worth your while to at least find out if you’ve been impacted.
*Article is for reporting purposes only. Geneva Financial does not provide legal advisement..