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August 01, 2019 | Posted in:

Equifax Settlement – What You Should Know

The class action settlement process for those impacted by the 2017 Equifax data breach has started. As a refresher, more than 145 million US consumers had their social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and credit card and bank account numbers exposed, along with other private information. The breach occurred between May and July of 2017.

If you haven’t done so already, you should check to see whether or not your information was stolen as part of this data breach. You can do so going to the Equifax website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com, entering in some basic information, and the site will tell you whether or not your information was compromised. If it was, then you are entitled to some sort of compensation as a result of the class action settlement, which offers reimbursement for time, losses, and out of pocket expenses related to the data breach. Filing a claim can either be done online at www.equifaxbreachsettlement.com or by mail.

 

Free Credit Monitoring or $125

Consumers have the option of either free credit monitoring or a cash payment up to $125. Note that Equifax is not the only company providing the credit monitoring service. The two other major credit bureaus, Experian and Transunion, will also be monitoring credit as part of this claim.

If you opt for the cash, you must certify that you have credit monitoring and will keep it for six months. Keep in mind that while you are set to receive up to $125, once these claims reach $31 million, the payout amount will end up being less. The deadline for filing this claim is January 22, 2020.

 

Reimbursement for Time Spent, Losses, and Out of Pocket Expenses

Consumers are also able to claim reimbursement for up to 20 hours of their time at a rate of $25 per hour. That’s a maximum of $500 per claim. If you’re claiming 10 hours or less, you’ll only need to provide a description of the time spent. However, if you’ve spent more than 10 hours, you will have to include documents supporting that your personal data was misused along with a description of the time you spent dealing with the data breach aftermath.

If you suffered any financial loss or incurred expenses as a result of the breach, you are eligible for reimbursement of those monies. Qualifying costs include the cost of freezing or unfreezing your credit, fees paid to professionals to prevent identity theft, and financial losses related to identity theft. The payments are capped at $20,000 per person.

Similar to the credit monitoring component, once these claims also reach $31 million, the payout amount will be decreased, so you may not get the full amount you are entitled to. The deadline for filing this claim is January 22, 2020.

 

Opting Out of the Settlement

Of course, you can opt out of the settlement if you’d like. If you were part of the data breach, you are automatically included in the settlement. Should you file a claim, you waive your right to file your own lawsuit against Equifax for harm related to the data breach. By opting out of the settlement, you would still have the option of suing Equifax in the future. Opts outs must be submitted in a signed written request by November 19, 2019.

 

Be proactive about protecting your credit and finances. Click here to learn more about Alloy Silverstein’s Identity Theft Defense solution.

Author:

Associate Partner
 
Ren III provides tax, accounting, and advisory services to a broad range of clients, with a specialty for manufacturers, title insurance companies, and professional service providers.
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JB Financial Associates is now Alloy Silverstein.
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