James Martin / CNET
] lost as a result of the hacking. The Federal Trade Commission said this week that Equifax has agreed to pay at least $ 575 million and up to $ 700 million to help compensate victims of hackers who stole personal data from Equifax servers. Payments as part of the settlement can cover the costs of recovering from the breach of the free credit report company ̵
1; including recovering from theft of your identity and freezing and freezing accounts – and unauthorized charges to your account. You can also file a claim to cover the cost of protecting yourself from identity theft following the Equifax data breach.
And even if you weren't part of the breach and can't file a claim, you can get free credit reports for seven years.
To get started, check if you and your information were exposed as part of the breach. So, if you were, collect documents related to the hacking that shows expenses and losses. And finally, file your claim for damages. You have until January 22, 2020 to file.
The breach resulted in hackers stealing social security numbers, addresses, credit and driver card information, date of birth and other personal information stored on Equifax's servers. As part of the investigation, the FTC claimed that the Free Credit Agency failed to take reasonable steps to secure the network.
Participating in the Equifax settlement is not okay. The exact amount Equifax will pay out has not been determined. The proposed settlement will start with a $ 300 million fund to compensate affected consumers who purchased credit monitoring services. Equifax will also pay $ 175 million to the state and districts – and $ 100 million to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in civil penalties.
If the original $ 300 million infusion does not adequately compensate consumers, Equifax, according to the FTC, has agreed to kick in $ 125 million more into the fund, for a total possible payout of $ 700 million. If you are a creditor, your part of the settlement may include free credit monitoring services and identity theft protection. You may also be eligible for cash payments to cover expenses incurred as a result of the breach – such as attorney fees and credit monitoring – free assistance to recover from identity theft and free credit reports for 10 years.
How to participate in the settlement.
Find out if you were hit by the breach
To check if your data was exposed, the FTC and the official settlement site have an online tool you can use to check if you were part of the Equifax breach.
You must enter the last name and last six digits of your social security number to see if your data was part of the hacking.
Prepare and submit your claim
On the Equifax Data Breach Settlement website, you can now file a claim to recover money you lost or spent as a result of the extensive hack. How to prepare and then submit a claim.
- To support your claim, you must collect all documents and receipts you have related to the breach to show expenses you may have incurred for identity theft, for example, and money lost due to the breach.
- To follow the settlement, the FTC suggests signing up to receive email updates.
- You can also check the FTC's Equifax Data Breach Settlement page and the official update data breach settlement page.
- And the FTC has a number you can call – (833) 759-2982 – for updates.
- At the official settlement site, file a claim online.
- You can also follow the instructions on the website to email your claim or have a claim form sent to you.
- As part of the claims process, you select which benefits you are eligible for and consider which documents you must submit to support your claim. Supporting documents include statements showing unauthorized costs, charges for freezing your account, fees paid to professionals to help with the theft, and other related expenses.
What settlement payments may cover
The proposed agreement provides for payments of $ 20,000 per person to cover what you used to recover after the breach. Here are the costs and expenses you may be able to recover.
- Expenses related to unauthorized fees on your accounts
- Credit report freezing and credit monitoring costs
- Fees paid to accountants, attorneys and other professionals
- Postage, mileage, notary and other services fees
- related to credit monitoring, up to $ 125.
- Cost of Equifax credit monitoring and other services for one year prior to the breach.
In addition, from 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 the site.
When do I need to file a claim
The FTC said you must file your claim by January 22, 2020. The soon to receive benefits you qualify for are January 23, 2020, the FTC said.
This is the information we know right now, with many details still to come. We will update this story as we learn more.