In 2017, Equifax, a credit reporting organization, announced that the personal information of over 140 million individuals had been compromised due to a data breach, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). While other massive data breaches have occurred at other companies, including Adobe and eBay, Equifax was particularly notable given how many consumers used its credit monitoring and reporting services.
In January 2020, a $425 million class action settlement was approved for those impacted by the breach, although the settlement itself cannot be finalized until appeals to it are resolved, according to JND, a legal services company.
When that update may come is uncertain, but it is still possible that consumers may be owed money and additional services if they were impacted by the breach.
How long do I have to file a claim?
For expenses related to identity theft or fraud as a result of the breach — including losses or charges to accounts and fees paid to professionals to help recovery from identity theft — individuals can file a claim until January 22, 2024.
How can I find out if I’m still eligible?
To find out if you qualify, you can use the tool available at eligibility.equifaxbreachsettlement.com/en/eligibility. To file a claim, you can visit equifaxbreachsettlement.com/file-a-claim.
Individuals can also file a claim for time they dedicated to recovering from identity theft and fraud as a result of the breach, with up to $25 being awarded per hour for a maximum of 20 hours total, the FTC noted.
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How will may payment arrive?
Cash payments will be disbursed via check or debit card and sent to the mailing address provided in the claim.
While the initial payout for those impacted was set at $125, MarketWatch previously noted that the sum that claimants may receive could be significantly lower.
“Regulators and plaintiffs’ lawyers have cautioned applicants that they wouldn’t get anywhere near that amount because there was just a $31 million pot of money for those payouts,“ MarketWatch said in a January 2020 story.
What else is the settlement offering?
In addition to the potential cash payment, those impacted by the breach will be eligible for at least seven years of free identity restoration services, according to JND.
What happens if I don’t participate?
JND notes that you “can still access Identity Restoration Services, but will not be entitled to any other benefits provided under the Settlement.”