The Equifax Credit Data Breach, How to Handle it
- December 17, 2019
The Equifax credit data breach affected 147 million people. This would include most of the adults in the United States. Chances are, your data was compromised by this breach too. Use this site to find out if you were included in the breach. The class action lawsuit set it up for consumer use.
Limiting the damage the Equifax Credit Data Breach
As a consumer your main concern is “How does the Equifax credit data breach affect me?” This is a valid concern since credit data in the wrong hands can cause serious financial and reputational damage. Unfortunately, you can’t do anything on that front since your data has already been compromised. The best thing you can do at the moment is remain vigilant. Review your credit annually on https://www.annualcreditreport.com. Sign up for free credit-monitoring services with Credit Karma or through your bank. Both these steps will help to make sure your identity isn’t being used by someone else. Check your accounts periodically for suspicious activity. Finally, review the settlement being offered by Equifax and choose the best option for your particular situation.
Equifax had to shell out $380,500,000 into a Consumer Restitution Fund to try and make this right. Here is an FAQ from them answering a bunch of questions about the breach and the resulting settlement. Item 6 shows how those funds will be utilized.
As part of the settlement for the Equifax credit data breach, Equifax is offering a cash sum, up to $125, or free credit monitoring for 4 years along with $1,000,000 of identity theft insurance. In order to receive either of these settlements you’ll have to file a claim by January 22, 2020. So far, most people have opted for the cash settlement but have been severely disappointed when the amount received was far less than $125. This is because the amount available for the cash sum offering is only $31 million. If all 147 million affected people request the cash settlement then each person would only receive $0.21, not $125.
If you have been affected by the Equifax credit data breach you will most likely receive less than $1 if you choose the cash settlement. Therefore we strongly recommend you choose the free credit monitoring. That service combined with the identity theft insurance has a market value equal to several hundred dollars per year. This way you have some protections in place to catch possible identity theft and to help you recover from any potential losses that may result from identity theft.