If your personal information was compromised by the 2017 data breach at Equifax, you may be compensated as a result of the credit bureau’s settlement with the government.
At last count, more than 147 million consumers were exposed when hackers invaded Equifax’s network, stealing important identifying information such as date of birth and Social Security number -- just the kind of data a crook would need to steal your identity.
Under the terms of the settlement, which must still be approved by the court, Equifax has agreed to pay $380.5 million to consumers in the form of benefits. It’s also on the hook for another $125 million in potential spending to compensate consumers for actual losses from identity theft.
Those whose information was compromised in the breach have a couple of options. They can receive a free credit monitoring from all three credit bureaus or -- if they are already paying for credit monitoring -- they can receive a one-time payment of $125.
Consumers whose identity has been stolen as a direct result of the breach may qualify for up to $20,000 in reimbursement of expenses made to restore credit standing.
Credit monitoring option
Free credit monitoring is being provided by rival Experian for at least four years. It will include monitoring of activity for all three credit bureaus, providing notice of any changes. It also includes free copies of a class member's Experian credit report, updated on a monthly basis, and up to $1,000,000 in identity theft insurance.
Consumers who choose this option can also get up to six more years of free one-bureau credit monitoring through Equifax. While the benefits won’t be provided until the settlement has been declared final, consumers can and should submit a claim now.
Consumers can find additional details at www.equifaxbreachsettlement.com, or they can call the settlement administrator at 1-833-759-2982.