You may be entitled to some money! Back in 2017, Equifax had a data breach and your personal information may have been compromised. 147 million people were affected and you need to check to see if you’re one of them!
What is Equifax?
Equifax is a commonly used national credit reporting agency that retains your credit history. If you have ever had your credit pulled, it’s highly likely that Equifax was the credit bureau used to produce your credit findings (credit report). Whether you have opened a checking account, credit card or loan, you could be a victim of the breach–a release of personal information that was once secured or confidential.
Do I qualify to receive settlement benefits?
You should check here to see if your personal information was impacted. You will need to enter your last name and the last 6 digits of your social security number. This site is “The Official Settlement Website For The Equifax Data Breach Settlement”. You can verify all of this information on the FTC’s website.
Filing a claim
If your personal information was NOT compromised, there is nothing for you to do. Congrats!
If you were impacted by the breach, you can file a claim online or via mail. Go here to begin the process. Make sure to read everything fully and keep copies for your records. (If you already knew you were victimized and experienced identity theft or similar issues, you will need to upload or send in supporting documents.)
For those impacted, there are a few options to choose from:
1. Up to $125 cash
- Must be currently using a credit monitoring service like Credit Karma
- Since writing this post, the FTC informed the public on 7/31/19 in this blogpost that this payout will most likely be less than $125 due to the “unexpected number of claims”.
2. Free credit monitoring
- If you’re already using a credit monitoring service, such as LifeLock, it may be best to take the money.
- There are 2 options for credit monitoring, more info here. You can select up to 10 years of monitoring to include identity theft protection.
3. Up to $20k cash (reimbursement)– THIS IS ONLY FOR VICTIMS WHO LOST OR SPENT MONEY DUE TO THE BREACH
- You will start your claim and complete the personal information section. Skip Section 1 – Credit Monitoring: Free Service or Cash Payment and complete Section 2 – Cash Payment: Time Spent and Section 3 – Cash Payment: Money You Lost or Spent then finish form out.
- You will need to provide proof with documentation and receipts.
What happens if I do not file a claim?
You will lose the opportunity to receive benefits from this settlement. As well, you cannot sue Equifax in the event credit issues arise from the breach. According to the FTC, the deadline to file a claim is January 22, 2020.
If you do not file a claim, you are still eligible to receive up to 7 years of Free identity restoration services. “Call the settlement administrator at 1-833-759-2982” per the FTC. Learn more here.
Before I file a claim, how do I know if my credit was affected?
Check your credit report! You need to review to determine if there are any unauthorized “debts” or inquiries. If you recently had your credit pulled by an institution, request a copy from them. Otherwise, pull your credit report for free from annualcreditreport.com. You can pull 3 reports a year, one from each credit bureau.
If you do find any unauthorized activity, file a written dispute with the reporting credit agency. Here is an example letter by the FTC.
***Some items to please note: I know this to be legitimate because I work in the financial industry. I also encourage you to do your own research for more legal rights and options. In addition, the settlement is pending and still has to be approved by the Court.
Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments, I will be happy to guide you in the right direction. I hope this information was helpful!
Sources used in this post have been linked and any copy used was quoted.
📸 Photos by Katie-Bee Photography