Equifax is paying up to $425 million to help cover the costs incurred by nearly 147 million consumers as a result of the 2017 data breach.
The money will reimburse individuals for everything from the time spent filing for credit freezes after the breach, to free monitoring services for the next 10 years. Federal officials, however, do not anticipate that all affected consumers will submit claims.
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Individuals will initially have six months to file for financial retribution but will be covered for four years in the event of identity theft occurred as a result of information stolen from the hack.
Below is a breakdown of what monetary reimbursements customers are entitled to:
Out-of-pocket costs incurred from the hack – up to $20,000
Consumers can receive up to $20,000 to cover any financial costs incurred as a result of the stolen information.
Some documentation will be required, like receipts, but individuals will not have to prove that “a particular identity theft was a result of the Equifax breach,” according to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Kathy Kraninger.
“The consumer will be required to show the types of information that was stolen and the date that the information was stolen that had occurred after the breach,” she told reporters. “Any identity theft that occurred that involved the same types of information that occurred after the breach will be reimbursable.”
Time spent addressing any impact of the hack – $25 per hour, up to 20 hours
Individuals can also file for financial restitution for the time spent mitigating the fallout of the breach, including implementing a security freeze on their account or ordering credit reports.
They are eligible to receive $25 per hour, up to 20 hours in total and some “reasonable documentation” will be required. Consumers can “self-certify” to the time spent and check a box to indicate the claim is truthful, but are only eligible for up to 10 hours of reimbursement in that instance.
“The time component is very significant for consumers, even consumers that have not necessarily suffered out-of-pocket losses, it can be a real burden and a hassle for consumers to unravel the identity theft, to call their financial institutions, to figure out what happened,” Kraninger said.
Ten years of free credit monitoring – or a $125 cash payment
Equifax will provide 10 years of free credit monitoring to all consumers. The first four years will include reports from the top three bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – and $1 million in identity theft insurance.
The monitoring, however, will be done through an independent, third-party firm, to be approved by the FTC, CFPB and other stakeholders in the lawsuits against Equifax.
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If individuals do not want credit monitoring from the settlement fund, they are entitled to a $125 cash payment to go to another firm. Equifax is also offering six free credit reports for seven years beginning in 2020, alongside the one free annual report that Equifax, Experian and TransUnion provide already.
“It’s a way for consumers to try to protect themselves if they see anything on their report that gives them an indication that their information has been compromised,” Kraninger told reporters.