Sep 25, 2019 Equifax Data Breach Update: Make a claim today

Two years ago, one of the big four credit reporting agencies, Equifax, announced it experienced a security breach. The breach resulted in criminals accessing personal information of approximately 147 million Americans between May and July of 2017. The compromised data included names, addresses, Social Security Numbers, and dates of birth. In some instances, driver’s license numbers, credit card numbers, and credit dispute information were also compromised. This information is nearly everything that is needed to open an account in your name.

This year, Equifax settled with the US Federal Trade Commission over its 2017 data breach. The settlement of up to $700 million includes at least $380,500,000 into a consumer restitution fund. With so many Americans affected, you could qualify for some form of compensation as a result of the settlement.

While our office does not have a direct relationship with Equifax, due to the sheer size of the breach, we wanted to reach out.

First, visit the Equifax breach settlement website at https://eligibility.equifaxbreachsettlement.com/en/Eligibility to determine whether you have been impacted.

If you are impacted, the settlement provides a way to help protect yourself from unauthorized use of your personal information. Settlement Class members may submit a claim to enroll in at least four (4) years of three-bureau credit monitoring services, provided by Experian, at no cost. These services include the following features:

  • Three-bureau credit monitoring giving notice of changes to your credit report at all three national credit bureaus;
  • Up to $1 million in insurance coverage costs related to identity theft or fraud;
  • Real-time notification of credit inquiries and other notifications;
  • On-demand online access to a free copy of one-bureau credit report, updated monthly;
  • CyberAgent® Dark Web Monitoring that monitors internet activity for the trading or selling of your personal information;
  • Customer support provided by Experian; and
  • Many other features described here.

Not interested in free credit monitoring? You may also file your claim and receive up to the amount of $125 (Once you indicate and provide proof of having a credit monitoring service already). Depending on the number of claims, that amount could be less.

Other cash payments include compensation of up to $20,000 for remedying fraud, identity theft, misuse of personal information caused by the data breach, purchasing credit monitoring, or freezing credit reports. Compensation includes any out of pocket losses and time spent as a result of the Equifax Data Breach.

 

Know Your Rights

If you are a member of the settlement class but do not want to remain, you may exclude or “opt-out” of the settlement class. By taking this action, you will lose any right to participate in the settlement, including any right to receive the benefits outlined in the Notice. However, if you decide on this option, you may keep any rights you have, if any, against Equifax. Preserving your rights means you may file a lawsuit against Equifax based upon the same legal claims asserted in this lawsuit. However, you will need to find an attorney at your own cost to represent you in that lawsuit.

To exclude yourself from the Settlement Agreement you must mail a “request for exclusion” postmarked no later than 11/19/2019.

You may need to keep the following are the dates in mind:

  • Oct. 15, 2019 – You must either verify or amend your claim for alternative compensation.
  • Nov. 19, 2019 – Object or comment on the settlement
  • Nov. 19, 2019 – Exclude yourself from the settlement
  • Jan. 22, 2020 – File a claim for Out of Pocket Losses or Time Spent (Current losses and time)
  • Jan. 22, 2020 – File a claim for Credit Monitoring Services or Alternative reimbursement Compensation
  • Jan. 22, 2020 – File a claim for Equifax subscription Product Reimbursement
  • Jan. 22, 2024 – File a claim for Out of Pocket Losses or Time Spent (Future losses and time)

What to Consider:

Starting in 2020, Equifax is offering six free credit reports to all Americans for 7 years.[1] Several companies also provide similar services for a fee. Please note that credit monitoring does not prevent ID theft; it only alerts you when events occur that may impact your credit.

  • If you believe your information is compromised, contact our office to discuss options to protect your investment accounts further.
  • Be on high alert for impersonators or phishing attempts by fraudsters. Be on the lookout for emails that appear to be from these companies, telling you that you’ve been impacted, or otherwise creating a sense of urgency, and to “click here” for more information.  When in doubt, do not click the link. Any legitimate company will have another way for you to contact them to be sure the email is safe.

We will remain on a high level of alert for any unauthorized account activity. We will continue our high level of verbal client authentication before any changes made on your account.

As always, thank you for your trust.  If you have any additional concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out directly.

Leonard Rickey Investment Advisors, PLLC is not a law firm.  This post is for informational purposes only.  Please consult with an attorney regarding any legal action.

 

[1] https://www.ftc.gov/enforcement/cases-proceedings/refunds/equifax-data-breach-settlement

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