TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - Equifax has agreed to pay a record $575 million, and potentially up to $700 million, to help cover the costs incurred by nearly 147 million consumers following a 2017 data breach. It's part of a global settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and 50 U.S. states and territories, which alleged that the credit reporting company's failure to take reasonable steps to secure its network led to the hack.
The money will reimburse individuals for everything from time spent filing for credit freezes after the breach, to free monitoring services for the next 10 years.
Individuals will have six months to file for financial retribution but will be covered for four years in the event of any identity theft that may occur as a result of information stolen from the breach.
Some documentation will be required, like receipts, but individuals will not have to prove that "a particular identity theft was a result of the Equifax breach," according to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Kathy Kraninger.
If individuals do not want credit monitoring from the settlement fund, they are entitled to a $125 cash payment to go to another firm. Equifax is also offering six free credit reports for seven years beginning in 2020, alongside the one free annual report that Equifax, Experian and TransUnion provide already.
This is the largest settlement ever for a data breach.
LINK: For more information on how to file a claim, go to www.equifaxbreachsettlement.com