It is more than two years since Equifax, one of America's three major credit reporting agencies, suffered a major data breach and revealed the information to 143 million people. Although we see many data breaches, in this case, thieves dealt with a dangerous amount of personal information, including social security numbers, addresses, date of birth and driver's license number. This is especially dangerous because there is everything a thief needs to steal your identity and open credit accounts in your name.
Although there is no way to make your information private again, Equifax has reached a settlement with the FTC that offers a small benefit to anyone who was a victim of the breach. You can either claim a $ 1
Here's what you need to do to claim $ 125.
Were you a victim of the Equifax breach?
You can check if your data was stolen and that you are eligible for the settlement on the Equifax settlement website. Just enter the last name and last six digits of your social security number and you will find out if you are eligible to receive your credit monitoring or cash payment selection.
Do you want credit monitoring or cash?
The fact that this data breach included social security number makes identity theft a major risk. When your SSN is in someone else's hands, you need to be more vigilant to keep track of your credit report to make sure no one opens fraudulent accounts in your name. You can also place a "security freeze" on your files with all three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax, TransUnion and Experian, as well as the lesser-known Innovis. A security freeze prevents credit reporting agencies from issuing the credit report without your consent, making it impossible for anyone to apply for credit in your name. But it also makes it more difficult to apply for a loan, credit card or mortgage, so keep this in mind if you are in the process of buying a house or financing a car. You need to lift the freezer, which you can do by logging into your account with a PIN issued when you place the freezer.
You can monitor your credit report for free by requesting the credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com and checking it for errors. If something is wrong, you can report it and fix it immediately, before much damage is done. The problem is that you have to remember to do it regularly, and this is where credit monitoring services come in. They keep an eye on your credit report for you and notify you of unusual activity as soon as it happens. It is after some damage has already been done and you still need to confirm that the activity is fraudulent and report it, but credit monitoring will let you know quickly. Whether you choose credit monitoring or cash from settlement, Equifax offers free identity theft recovery assistance, so you are not completely on your own if you see signs of identity theft.
Credit monitoring can cost $ 10 to $ 20 per month, which is far more than $ 125 Equifax will pay you in cash. However, if you already have credit monitoring, or you are DIY type and prefer to keep track of your own, cash payment is a good option.
You may be eligible for more than just $ 125
If you have been a victim of identity theft due to the Equifax breach, you may be eligible for a higher payment to cover your time and expenses, up to a maximum $ 20,000. You will need to provide documentation on identity theft expenses, which can be a headache to put together – but if you had any extra expenses associated with this violation, it is worth the effort to have them reimbursed.
Get Your Settlement Benefits
You can submit a claim online or download claim filing forms by mail. Registering online is the easiest option, and it only takes a few minutes. An online form will guide you through the information you need to provide, including claims for any additional expenses. With a handful of clicks you will do it.
You must submit your claim by January 22, 2020, and we recommend that you do so now, so that you do not forget it.
When do I get my benefits?
The settlement must be approved by the court before offering cash payments or credit monitoring services – which can take several months. If you chose a cash payment, you will receive a check or prepaid debit card in the mail (you choose), and if you chose credit monitoring, you will receive an email with an activation code to register online.
To find out when the settlement is approved, you can sign up for FTC email updates.
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