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.

Here’s what you need to do to determine whether your credit data has been compromised and the options that you have if your social security number appears as one of the 147 million credit records.

  1. Use this link to the FTC and enter in the last 6 digits of your social security number. (WARNING:  there are other websites out there that are asking for your information.  Don’t use them—use this one – https://www.ftc.gov/enforcement/cases-proceedings/refunds/equifax-data-breach-settlement )
  2. The website will tell you whether you are eligible to file a claim.
  3. There are 4 claim options:
    1. Cash or Pre-paid credit card of $125
    2. Or, Free credit monitoring for 4 years and $1 million dollars of identity theft insurance
    3. Or, free credit monitoring for 6 years (no insurance)
    4. Or, You incurred loss of money and time due to identity theft. If you claim less than 10 hours, you must describe the actions that you took to fix the issues. If you claim 10 hours or more, you must provide documentation.  Maximum claim is $20,000.

Your claim must be filed by January 22, 2020.

Claims will be reviewed starting January 23, 2020 but no date has been set when the money will be sent or the credit monitoring option will begin.

One more thing…It used to be that you could ask for one free credit report per year.  Now as part of the settlement, consumers can get up to 6 credit reports per year from Equifax for up to 7 years.