Claim your $7 (and dropping) part the Equifax data breach settlement

The Equifax data breach announced in September, 2017, impacted 147 million people, including 4 out of 5 of my immediate family and my father. The full extent of the damages may never be known, but you can claim your part of global settlement now.  You must file a claim by January 22, 2020.

Equifax Data Breach Settlement

From FTC.gov:
In September of 2017, Equifax announced a data breach that exposed the personal information of 147 million people. The company has agreed to a global settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and 50 U.S. states and territories. The settlement includes up to $425 million to help people affected by the data breach. 

Claim Your Part

If you were impacted (and Equifax provides a simple way to tell), you can receive at least up to $125 if you don’t already have credit monitoring by filing an online claim. The actual amount will depend on the number of people who file a claim as the total amount is capped at $31 million.  With currently over 4.5 million people filing claims, the actual amount will be more like $7.  But, you can also get reimbursed for:
  • the time you spent remedying fraud, identity theft, or other misuse of your personal information caused by the data breach, or purchasing credit monitoring or freezing credit reports, up to 20 total hours at $25 per hour.
  • out-of-pocket losses resulting from the data breach.
  • up to 25% of the cost of Equifax credit or identity monitoring products you paid for in the year before the data breach announcement.
The key words are “if you don’t already have credit monitoring.”  Technically, if you don’t have credit monitoring, you must claim the free credit monitoring offered through Experian. But credit bureau monitoring services often include a clause that waives your right to sue in favor of binding arbitration.  In other words, you’ll get a substantially smaller reimbursement if (when) it happens again. Although Equifax doesn’t include this clause in the free monitoring as part of this settlement, it does if you sign up for the additional services.

Free Credit Monitoring Services

If you’d like to get the cash, but don’t already have credit monitoring, check out these free credit monitoring services before filing your claim (some are included as part of paid services):
  • Bankrate (formerly Quizzle)
  • Credit Sesame – includes free identity theft insurance and identity restoration assistance
  • Dashlane – included with paid PremiumPlus account $10/month, which also offers identity restoration assistance, identity theft insurance, and VPN service
  • Discover – offers cardholders credit report monitoring and social security number alerts
  • NerdWallet – offers free additional credit card rewards at select retailers (mostly restaurants)
  • WalletHub
Some offer additional services, and you can use more than one if you like.

What about you?

Were you impacted by the Equifax data breach?  Which credit monitoring services do you use?  How will you use the reimbursement?  One good way is to open a high-interest cash management account with SoFi, which will get another $50 if you use the link on that page.

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