In 2017 an enormous security breach at the Equifax credit reporting agency exposed hundreds of millions of Americans’ personal data and social security numbers. Here’s how to get your piece of the settlement money if you were affected.
There are three forms of compensation available. The first is the easiest to get. If your name and social security number were leaked in the breach, you’re automatically entitled to $125.
The second is a bit more complicated. If you had to spend time and money to fight actual identify theft in addition to merely having your data exposed, you’re eligible for more compensation—up to $25 per hour for up to 20 hours spent dealing with the issue as well as minor expenses like paying for a credit monitoring service. You’ll have to provide documentation for your claim.
The third is the most serious form of compensation and requires the most extensive documentation. You could claim up to $20,000 in damages if you lost that money due to identify theft (or spent that money, such as on legal expenses, fighting identify theft) as a result of the breach. Be prepared to fill out additional paperwork and provide significant proof of your losses if you pursue this level of compensation.
You can check to see if you are eligible and file your claim online at this website, Equifax Breach Settlement. Naturally, you should be cautious about such things, and if you want to follow the link directly from the FTC website instead, you can read their announcement here which has a link to the site as well as additional details about the compensation available to those affected by the breach.