WASHINGTON D.C. (WWLP) – Consumers who were impacted by a 2017 data breach of the credit reporting company Equifax, and filed a claim, will begin getting information on a settlement soon.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) the settlement was finalized in January 2022. The settlement administrator has begun sending emails and letters to people who filed a valid claim requesting free credit monitoring services from the settlement.
Equifax experienced a data breach in 2017 that exposed the personal information of 147 million people. The company has agreed to a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and 50 U.S. states and territories. The settlement includes up to $425 million to help people affected by the data breach.
For people who signed up for credit monitoring as part of their settlement agreement, it can now be activated. The directions will be in the email or letter, or go to the FTC’s link with settlement details. Legitimate emails about this settlement will come from Equifax Breach Settlement Administrator. The administrator will not call you about the settlement, but you can reach the administrator by phone at 1-833-759-2982. Anyone who calls, texts, or emails to ask you for your credit card or bank account numbers, or to “help” you get your free credit monitoring is a scammer, which you can report to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
The initial deadline to file a claim in the Equifax settlement was January 22, 2020. After January 22, 2020, you can still file a claim for expenses you incur between January 23, 2020, and January 22, 2024, as a result of identity theft or fraud related to the breach, such as:
- Losses from unauthorized charges to your accounts
- Fees you paid to professionals, like accountants or attorneys, to help you recover from identity theft
- Other expenses you incurred while recovering from identity theft, like notary fees, document shipping fees, postage, mileage, and phone charges.
You also can file a claim for the time you spent recovering from identity theft or fraud between January 23, 2020, and January 22, 2024. You can be compensated up to $25 per hour up to 20 hours. There are limited funds available so your claim may be reduced.
Even if you do not file a claim, all consumers are eligible for:
Free Help Recovering from Identity Theft–If you were affected by the data breach and discover misuse of your personal information, you can get free identity restoration services beginning January 2022, even if you never filed a claim for other benefits. To access this benefit, use the look-up tool(link is external) to confirm that you were affected by the breach. The confirmation page provides a phone number and engagement number to get free help with identity restoration.
Free Credit Reports for All U.S. Consumers–All U.S. consumers can now get 7 free Equifax credit reports per year through 2026 by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com.