- In 2017, the credit-monitoring agency Equifax revealed that a massive hack exposed the data of over 147 million Americans, including Social Security numbers, names, addresses, and other personal information.
- Following a class-action lawsuit, Equifax agreed to pay out hundreds of millions of dollars to the victims. If you’re an American, you’re probably owed money in the settlement.
- The website for those claims is now live, and you could get $US125 – and potentially up to $US20,000. Here’s how.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Are you an American over the age of 18? Then there’s a good chance your data was breached in the 2017 Equifax hack, where the personal information of over 147 million people was stolen by hackers.
It stinks, no doubt, but here’s some good news: A class-action suit was filed on behalf of all 147 million victims, and a settlement resulted in every victim receiving some form of compensation from Equifax – starting at $US125, and as much as $US20,000.
Here’s how to claim your cut of the money:
1. First, head to <a href=”https://www.equifaxbreachsettlement.com/”>the website</a>.
2. Perhaps you’re wondering if you’ve been affected by the data breach? You can check that instantly using this tool.
By entering the last six numbers of your Social Security number and your last name on this section of the website, you can find out instantly whether your personal information was breached in the 2017 hack.
As you can see above, my data was, in fact, breached.
3. If your data was breached, filling out a claim is pretty simple.
Understandably, you might be reluctant to hand over a bunch of personal information to Equifax, given the context of this situation. But don’t worry: The company handling this settlement payout isn’t Equifax but a third party, JND Legal Administration.
The company describes its work as “providing the most responsive, trustworthy, and comprehensive legal administrative service in the country.”
4. After filling out your data, you’ll need to make a few choices about what you’d like from the settlement.
One option is free credit monitoring. But given what precipitated this settlement, you might not be looking for free credit monitoring from Equifax. If you are? Go right ahead and choose that!
The second option, however, is money: $US125.
Of note: There is, of course, a catch. Equifax is funding $US31 million in payouts at $US125 apiece. “If there are more than $US31 million claims,” the site says, “all payments … will be lowered and distributed on a proportional basis.”
Which is to say that, if over 248,000 people file for the settlement, the $US125 will decrease proportionally with each additional claim.
5. But the $US125 is just the starting point. Additional financial claims are available, but they require more proof on your part.
Did the Equifax breach eat up a bunch of your time because, say, your identity was stolen? Or perhaps you spent a lot of time trying to figure out where your data went? Or maybe something else entirely?
If you spent any amount of time “trying to recover from fraud or identity theft caused by the data breach” or to enact preventative measures, like freezing your credit, you could also receive compensation from Equifax.
Time up to 10 hours requires an explanation, and any time beyond 10 hours requires documentation – at $US25/hour, with a maximum of 20 hours, you’re looking at a potential maximum payout of $US500 for time spent.
6. There’s one final way to receive additional money in the settlement from Equifax: as repayment for money you spent recovering from the breach.
This is where documentation becomes especially important, as you’ll need to submit receipts for whatever you spent in order to receive compensation. The maximum payout for this section is $US20,000.
7. Print your records!
Even though the settlement website asks for a bunch of personal information, including an email address, I received no receipt of having processed my settlement claim. I did, however, get a printable form that I was able to save to my computer – most importantly, this form included a settlement claim number. Make sure you keep it!
Claims can be made through January 22 on the settlement website.
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