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Equifax Settlement Guide: How to get the money and what you need to know




Before you try to cash out your agreement with Equifax, you should know some important things if you believe your identity has been stolen. (Michael Nagle / Bloomberg News)

The Bad News: Almost half of Americans were affected by the Equifax 2017 data breach, in which hackers stole personal information for more than 147 million people: identifying credit card numbers, social security numbers, and other information.

The Good News: Under a settlement agreement with the Federal Trade Commission, people whose data was stolen can receive compensation: 10 years of free credit monitoring or $ 125, depending on how badly you were affected. The payout could be up to $ 20,000 if you can prove that your identity was stolen and you suffered.

But there are a lot of fine print and there are deadlines. And if you think your identity was stolen, you should know some important things before you try to pay off.

[ Related Articles: Self-certification to Receive Compensation of $ 250 / How the Equifax Privacy Violations Resolution could be better / The Senators beat Equifax executives, Marriott claims massive data breaches number was part of the hack, then you should assume that it's out there forever. Even if someone has not stolen your identity yet, it can still happen. Second, there is a good chance you will not get the full $ 125 that Equifax and the FTC are talking about. The agreement contains a careful formulation, but the bottom line is that the amount of money in the payout pool is limited and no 125-dollar checks are paid for 147 million people.

With all this in mind, you should fill the biggest gap If you do nothing, you will automatically forfeit your right to take legal action against Equifax in the future.

Learn if your data was stolen due to a security breach.

Verify that your data has been stolen by typing the last six digits of your Social Security number and last name on the Equifax form (or by calling 833-759-2982). If it was not stolen, you are not entitled and can continue your life without thinking about this agreement.

If your data has been compromised. , , You have several options.

File for & # 39; Alternative Reimbursement Compensation & # 39;

Notice : In this way, you waive your right to take legal action against Equifax in the future.

Deadline: Jan. 22, 2020

You may submit a claim to the standard payout to for 10 years of credit monitoring – OR – to for 125 USD if you are already paying for the credit monitoring. They call it the "alternative reimbursement compensation" and it's the easiest way you can go.

If you really want the money, you can sign up for a free credit monitoring service like CreditKarma. Some credit card companies and banking services (such as Mint) also offer credit monitoring services.

The fine print shows why many people do not receive the full $ 125. This amount will only be paid until the applications reach a ceiling of $ 31 million. After that, the payouts are lowered and distributed proportionally. The total pool for the refund is $ 380.5 million.

We've been trying to figure out how many cash out requests have been filed by Friday afternoon, but the FTC could not provide an answer as it was still at an early stage. Equifax did not answer our questions.

Request for a larger refund

Notice : In this way, you waive your right to take legal action against Equifax in the future.

Deadline: [19659023] Jan. 22, 2020

If you have spent or lost money as a result of the hack (legal or accounting fees or the money you lost because someone stole your identity and a large amount Money on accounts in your name has debited the money If you've frozen and released your credit, postage, etc., $ 125 is not enough.

In this case, you can claim up to $ 20,000 You need to provide proof of time and money, and this process is more time-consuming.

You can also submit only the time you spend due to the data breach ($ 25 per hour for up to 20 hours) If you take more than 10 hours, the FTC writes, you must describe in detail the measures you have taken and provide documentation to alert you to theft or fraud you just have to specify exactly what action you took and how much time you spent.

You do not need to prove that your identity was stolen directly due to the 2017 violation, but must do so after the violation has occurred. You must file a lawsuit by January 22, 2020. More information about submitting a lawsuit online here or by e-mail here. If you were a minor on May 13, 2017, you will need to download this application form and send it by e-mail.

Not satisfied, but retain the option to initiate legal action.

Notice : This is the only option that gives you the right to sue Equifax in the future.

Deadline: Nov. 19, 2019

This does not sound intuitive, but if you were affected by the violation, you will automatically be included in this comparison. And it resembles some of the settlements that you hear in court – if you agree, you're done. You can not bring it to court again. You can not sue Equifax for any damage caused by the breach as you have already been a member of the group that has settled.

If you do not wish to settle down and wish to retain the right to take legal action against Equifax as an individual, You must decline the settlement by giving the Settlement Administrator a written "Exclusion Request" with the postmark dated 19 November To send in 2019. If you fail to comply with this deadline, you will lose the right to sue Equifax for infringement.

For more information on this process, see the Frequently Asked Questions of Equifax in Section 23.

If you do nothing

If you were affected If you violate the provisions of the Settlement and opt to do nothing, you have not entitled to the advantages mentioned above. In addition, this means that you lose your right to sue Equifax for any damage caused by the breach or further prosecution of the separate claims you submit.

Click here to sign up for FTC email updates for comparison.

Marie C. Baca contributed to this report.

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