In September 2017, the personal data of 147 million people was compromised from the Equifax database. Equifax is one of the major financial rating agencies used by many banks and lending institutions worldwide to verify the credit worthiness of Americans. If you were one of those people affected, you may be eligible for a class action settlement and ongoing credit protection/monitoring.
The courts are in the process of deciding whether they will approve a class action settlement, and if it goes through, you will have the right to file a claim against Equifax for failing to protect your data.
Filing a claim is quick and easy and can be done in as little as five minutes. In this article, we’ll explain the benefits you may be eligible for as well as how to claim them.
Benefits You May Receive If Your Data Was Affected
The benefits that you may be eligible for vary depending on a number of factors:
- All people affected by the data breach will be eligible for 10 years of credit monitoring services free of charge (pending the court’s ruling). The value of these services is worth several hundred dollars per year.
- If you already pay for credit monitoring services, you can request a cash reimbursement payment of up to $125 instead. The actual cash value you receive depends on the number of claims that get filed. The more claims filed, the smaller your payment may be.
- Lastly, if the data breach ended up leading to identity theft or fraud, you could be eligible for a payment of up to $20,000 (depending on the level of damages caused) and 7+ years of free assisted identity restoration services.
How To Find Out If Your Data Was Involved
Determining if you are eligible to file a claim takes about 20 seconds.
All you have to do is go to the Equifax Data Breach Eligibility webpage, type in your last name and last six digits of your Social Security number, and click Submit. If you have recently changed your last name, type in your maiden name or other last name your credit report may be under.
You will receive an instant response indicating whether or not you are eligible to file a claim against Equifax.
How To File A Claim
Those eligible to file a claim will be given step-by-step instructions on how to proceed.
If you are just requesting the free credit monitoring services or $125 cash payment (i.e., you did not suffer any damages due to the breach), then the process involves filling out a form that takes less than five minutes to complete.
However, if you did suffer from identity theft or fraud-related issues because of the breach and would like to file a more serious claim, you will need to gather supporting documents to prove your losses.
The deadline to submit all claims is January 22, 2020. If your data was affected by the breach and you do not submit your claim before this date, you will lose eligibility for all benefits other than Identity Restoration Services.
As you can see, checking your eligibility and filing a claim is quick and painless. There is no reason why you shouldn’t do it. If it turns out your data was affected, the 10 years of free credit monitoring will help you stay protected for years to come. In today’s era of cybercrime, we must stay vigilant and take extra measures to protect ourselves.
At Mason & Associates, protecting your financial information and your assets from cyber threats is our top priority! Mason staff are well-trained, and our systems are protected from cyber threats. We can never let our guard down from potential identity theft!
About Mason & Associates, Inc.
Mason & Associates, Inc., was founded in 1989, specializing in Life Planning for individuals, families, and small businesses. Life Planning places a person’s core life values at the heart of the advice process and focuses on the human aspects of financial planning.
As a client, your personal story is key to our planning process. That is why we strive to build a close relationship that will encompass every aspect of your life. Together with our team of professionals, we guide you through the process of identifying what is important to you, your goals, your dreams. We then put into place a financial road map to set you on your way toward achieving your objectives.
Our responsibility does not end there. As you encounter bumps in the road, changes in goals, or any other roadblocks, we are there to offer advice and guidance. We are there to celebrate your successes and cope with your challenges. We work alongside your other professionals, such as your attorney and your CPA, to be sure all of your legal and financial needs are aligned.