If you were among the 147 million Americans who had their Social Security number and other private information exposed by the 2017 Equifax data breach, the deadline to file a claim for free credit monitoring or compensation is Wednesday.
Equifax agreed last year to pay nearly $700 million to settle with the U.S. and states over its role in the massive data breach. The settlement with the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission included a $425 million restitution fund dedicated to compensating affected consumers.
The breach was one of the largest ever to threaten the private information. The consumer reporting agency, based in Atlanta, did not detect the attack for more than six weeks. The compromised data included Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, driver license numbers, credit card numbers and in some cases, data from passports.
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When is the deadline to file a claim?
The deadline to file a claim is Jan. 22, 2020.
How do I know I've been affected by the Equifax data breach?
If you're not sure if you have been affected, you can use this online tool to submit your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number to see if your information was compromised.
What does the claim cover?
FREE CREDIT MONITORING AND IDENTITY THEFT PROTECTION: All impacted consumers would be eligible to receive up to 10 years of free credit-monitoring, including at least four years of free monitoring of your credit report at all three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) and $1,000,000 of identity theft insurance and up to six more years of free monitoring of your Equifax credit report.
CASH PAYMENTS: Consumers will be able to claim up to $20,000 for out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of the breach, including losses from unauthorized charges to your accounts, paying to freeze and unfreeze credit reports and cost of monitoring. The FTC says you'll need attach supporting documents, such as receipts, to show how much money you spent.
TIME LOSS: Consumers can also submit claims for any time they had to spend dealing with the data breach. You can be compensated up to $25 per hour up to 20 hours. There are limited funds available so your claim may be reduced.
What if I don't file a claim?
Under the terms of the settlement, there are services that all Americans are entitled to — even if they don’t file an official claim, the FTC says.
For at least seven years, you can get free identity restoration services. If you discover misuse of your personal information, call the settlement administrator at 1-833-759-2982. You will be given instructions for how to access free identity restoration services.
Starting in 2020, all U.S. consumers can get six free credit reports per year for seven years from the Equifax website. That’s in addition to the one free Equifax report (plus your Experian and TransUnion reports) you can get at AnnualCreditReport.com.
When will I receive benefits?
The settlement administrator will send out benefits starting Jan. 23, 2020.