It’s hard to believe, but the Equifax Data Breach was discovered over two years ago on September 7, 2017. Astoundingly, at the time of the breach, Equifax announced that approximately 143 million U.S. consumers were impacted. Following the settlement agreement, we are now approaching the deadline to file your claim with Equifax if you were impacted by the breach.
When is the Deadline to File Your Claim With Equifax?
January 22, 2020.
So, there is still time if you haven’t done so already. The first step is to check if you’ve been impacted by this breach.
How to Know if You Have Been Impacted by the Breach
Equifax established a site where you can check if your information was compromised. All that is needed is your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number.
Once you enter your information, you will be told one of two things:
Based on the information you provided, our records indicate your personal information was impacted by this incident.
Based on the information provided, our records indicate that your personal information was not impacted by this incident.
If you fall into the latter scenario, please be sure that you have properly entered your information and all possible alternative names (maiden name, etc…).
If your information was impacted, they conveniently provide an immediate link to begin filing a claim. Or you can use the link below:
What Are Your Options When Filing A Claim?
If you were impacted, according to the Federal Trade Commission, you have a few options. What’s below is a direct excerpt from the FTC site and is subject to change without my knowledge:
Free Credit Monitoring and Identity Theft Protection Services
- Up to 10 years of free credit monitoring, including:
- At least four years of free monitoring of your credit report at all three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) and $1,000,000 of identity theft insurance.
- Up to six more years of free monitoring of your Equifax credit report.
(Previously, a cash payment was identified as an alternative to the free credit monitoring, but there are limited funds available. See FAQ 4 for details.)
- If you were a minor in May 2017, you are eligible for a total of 18 years of free credit monitoring.
Cash Payments (capped at up to $20,000 per person)**
- For expenses you paid as a result of the breach, like:
- Losses from unauthorized charges to your accounts
- The cost of freezing or unfreezing your credit report
- The cost of credit monitoring
- Fees you paid to professionals like an accountant or attorney
- Other expenses like notary fees, document shipping fees and postage, mileage, and phone charges
- For the time you spent dealing with the breach. You can be compensated up to $25 per hour up to 20 hours. There are limited funds available so your claim may be reduced. See FAQ 7 for more details.
- If you submit a claim for 10 hours or less, you must describe the actions you took and the time you spent doing those things.
- If you claim more than 10 hours, you must describe the actions you took AND provide documents that show identity theft, fraud, or other misuse of your information.
- For the cost of Equifax credit monitoring and related services you had between September 7, 2016, and September 7, 2017, capped at 25 percent of the total amount you paid.
**Please note: As stated above, it was originally assumed based on the settlement, that you could choose $125 cash in lieu of free credit monitoring, but due to the overwhelming response to this offer, it appears that it is no longer a feasible option. In other words, the cash option is still available, but it appears that people choosing the cash option are expected to receive far less than the $125 initially offered.
All this effectively means, as the FTC indicates, is that free credit monitoring seems to be the best value from where we stand now.
The FTC link above is especially useful as it includes other frequently asked questions amongst other things.
When filing your claim on the site linked to above, you can do everything necessary directly on their website including signing up for credit monitoring and requesting payment for time spent recovering from the breach. Personally, I found it to be quite user-friendly.
I can’t stress this enough, if you were impacted, the deadline to file your claim with Equifax is January 22, 2020.
Additional Time-Sensitive Reading:
Strategies to Reduce Your Tax Bill for 2019
This post is not advice. Please see additional disclaimers.