ATLANTA — If you're an American adult, there's about a 50/50 chance your data was exposed in a 2017 data breach at Equifax.
If it was, you should soon have a chance at restitution.
A class action settlement between the FTC and Equifax was announced Monday and will provide for up to $425 million in payments to consumers who were affected by the breach.
All that now awaits is final approval by the federal district court of the Northern District of Georgia.
The 2017 breach affected over 150 million people and leaked crucial information such as their names, dates of birth, social security numbers, and credit card information.
The FTC has requested $425 million in monetary relief to consumers, a $100 million civil money penalty, and other relief from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
An Equifax representative informed 11Alive that people can monitor the class action case and its results on an alternate website the company has created.
Here's how to claim your chunk of the money:
- Being prepared: The FTC advises that you should save any documents you have related to your efforts to avoid or recover from identity theft after the 2017 Equifax data breach.
- Filing a claim: You cannot do that yet. But when you can, those who had their information stolen could be eligible for a minimum of $125 as a substitute for free credit monitoring. If a person paid out of pocket, they could be entitled to a maximum of $20,000. The company is also offering a free 10-year data monitoring service to those impacted.
- Getting notified: If the settlement is approved by the courts, people affected by the data breach will be notified about their next steps by email or they will receive a letter in the mail.
- Checking yourself: According to Georgia's attorney general, consumers will be able to get information and check their eligibility to file a claim at an online registry that will go live at https://www.equifaxbreachsettlement.com.
- Taking action: The Georgia attorney general says people who are eligible will have to submit claims online or by mail. Paper forms can be requested over the phone.
- Receiving updates: To get automatically updated on the settlement and the launch of the online registry, people can sign up for email alerts at ftc.gov/equifax.
- Making a call: Consumers are also advised that they can call the settlement administrator at 1-833-759-2982.
- When the case is settled: The FTC says that to get cash payments, once you file a claim you will choose whether you want a check or debit card. Once it's processed, it will be sent to you.
- For free credit monitoring: According to the FTC, you will get an activation code with instructions, and you'll be able to choose to receive this code by email or postal mail when you file your claim.
Breaking down the cash payments
There are many stipulations to the cash payments, the FTC says.
Under the cash payments, capped at $20,000 per person, people will be entitled to:
- Money you spent dealing with the breach: That's anything you paid for things like losses from unauthorized charges, the cost of freezing or unfreezing your credit report, credit monitoring, the cost of an accountant or attorney, or even small expenses such as postage fees and phone charges related to your efforts. That's why the FTC is advising you to keep receipts and other documentation of what you paid to get various things fixed.
- Money for your time: The fund will distribute $25 an hour to individuals who had to work to fix their lives, at a max of 20 hours. That means a max of $500.
- 25 percent of whatever you paid Equifax: If you were using Equifax services, you're entitled to a refund of 25 percent of the total you paid between Sept. 7, 2016, and the breach on Sept. 7, 2017.
- An additional $125: This single cash payment is available if you decide to not to enroll in the free credit monitoring offered through the settlement because you already have credit monitoring.
MORE ON EQUIFAX