You may recall that in 2017, Equifax (one of the largest credit reporting agencies), experienced a massive data breach that gave hackers access to the personal information of upwards to 150 million people. As a result of a global settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and 50 U.S. states and territories, the claims process began on July 25, 2019 and is expected to provide $700 million to help people affected by the data breach.
A couple questions to ask: (1) were you possibly affected by the data breach and (2) are you entitled to settlement benefits. To find out, go to this official settlement website.
I did and I got the bad news.
Not quite like getting a note that you just won a free puppy… 🙁
So if you’re like me, and you discover that you are officially part of the settlement class, what should you do? You can file a claim by going to the official claim filing page.
Initially, claimants were originally offered the choice of credit reporting services and protection or up to $125 in cash. Based on the number of claims made in just the first week, however, you’re now limited to only the services and protection option.
You should also read up about other things you can do to protect your credit. There is some good information at the FTC Equifax Data Breach Settlement website.
Keep in mind that the last day to file a claim is January 22, 2020. However, I suggest you not wait to file (if you are eligible) as things may continue to change based on the response to the settlement, which so far has been significant.
We live in an age of Big Data and with all of the benefits that brings, it also exposes us to risk. Many people forget about their credit report until they are about to make a big purchase, like a new home. This is a good reminder to be vigilant and watch your credit report for suspicious activity from time to time so that when it’s time to make that big purchase, your credit is one less thing to worry about.