THE EQUIFAX SETTLEMENT – What to Know About It
Because of a “cybersecurity incident” that exposed personal information of 147 million Americans, Equifax is to pay at least $575 million to affected parties.
Consumers have the following ways to access relief from this breach:
- Free credit monitoring or $125 cash payment. If selected, at least four years of three-bureau credit monitoring is offered through Experian and six more years of free one-bureau credit monitoring will be offered through Equifax. If you already have credit monitoring services that will continue for at least six more months, you may be eligible for a cash payment of $125.
- Free identity restoration services. Consumers will be eligible for at least seven years of free assisted identity restoration services to help remedy the effects of identity theft and fraud. The settlement must be approved before any claims can be filed.
- Initiate a credit freeze. This stops all access to your credit report. If you need to access your credit information, you have to unfreeze your records which can take a few days. Each company needs to be contacted directly to freeze your file: Equifax — 800.685.1111; automated, Option 3; or 888.298.0045 (live); Experian – 888.397.3742; Option 2 followed by Option 2); TransUnion – 888.909.8872.
- Review your credit report every 12 months. Do this by going to AnnualCreditReport.com. If you find an error, report it immediately and stay on top of the process.
- File a complaint. If someone has used your information to make purchases or open accounts, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and print your Identify Theft Affidavit. Use that to file a police report and credit your Identify Theft Report.