Equifax Data Breach Settlement Of Up To $700M Largest Ever
- Author: Darren Santiago Jul 23, 2019,
Jul 23, 2019, 1:00
Equifax Inc. has agreed to pay at least $575 million, and potentially up to $700 million, as part of a global settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and 50 USA states and territories, which alleged that the credit reporting company's failure to take reasonable steps to secure its network led to a data breach in 2017 that affected approximately 147 million people.
A proposed settlement would involve the company providing up to $425 million in monetary relief to consumers and a civil money penalty of $100 million, along with other amounts of relief, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission announced in a joint press release on Monday. The breached information included social security numbers, names, dates of birth, addresses, credit card numbers and, in some cases, driver's license numbers.
As part of the settlement, Equifax will provide a consumer restitution fund of up to $425 million.
Victims of Equifax's breach will be eligible for up to 10 years of credit monitoring services for free, seven years of identity-restoration services, and six free copies of Equifax's credit reports per year for the next seven years.
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Once the FTC sets up its claims site, consumers can check there to see if they were affected by the data breach. The FTC has authority to examine whether a company's practices were reasonable and whether it was living up to representations about security of data. When approval is obtained, all the details will be available to view on the FTC Equifax Data Breach Settlement page.
FILE PHOTO: Credit reporting company Equifax Inc. corporate offices are pictured in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., September 8, 2017.
The Equifax hack has left over 143 million Americans vulnerable to identity theft. For minors, free credit monitoring increases to 18 years.
The breach is thought to have affected many North Carolinians, and the company has agreed to pay $4,563,223.03 to the state for restitution.
Frosh also strongly suggested consumers who aren't expecting a major credit transaction in the near future, like buying a vehicle or home, freeze their credit as soon as possible, and also the credit of their children under 18, in order to prevent fraud from occurring. Consumers can make a claim if they can prove they suffered identity theft "fairly traceable" to the 2017 breach or if they can document they spent time and money dealing with securing their credit because of the breach even if they weren't subject to identity theft.
"I'm pleased to announce this result for Idahoans, as Equifax failed to protect their sensitive data", Wasden said.