If you're one of the 147 million Americans whose data was stolen during the 2017 Equifax breach, and you're seeking compensation, people have one more hoop to jump through if they want a shot at collecting their $125 check from the company, or they could void the whole thing.
According to a notice sent by Equifax on Sunday to people who had filed requests for settlement checks, they must "verify" their claim by providing the name of the credit monitoring service they had in place when they filed it. The service must have been in place at least six months after filing your claim with Equifax. Consumers have until Oct. 15 to verify the information, otherwise, compensation will be denied.
People can also "amend" their claim by foregoing the money and sign up for a free credit monitoring service from Equifax.
In July, Equifax agreed to a $700 million settlement that would pay for a mix of government fines, legal fees, and a fund that would underwrite free credit monitoring and individual cash payments of up to $20,000 to people affected by the 2017 breach.
However, due to the way the settlement was structured, people affected by the hack were unlikely to get anywhere close to $125. Only $31 million was set aside for cash payouts, which is enough money for around 248,000 claims. If more than that filed claims, the overall compensation would be lowered. The FTC warned that after millions of people logged onto the Equifax site, that people were unlikely to receive the $125 that was originally promised, and instead urged consumers to sign up for the free credit monitoring instead.
Equifax offered those people affected by the breach 10 years of free credit monitoring - four years through the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) and six additional years through Equifax.
"Based on the number of potentially valid claims that have been submitted to date, payments of these benefits likely will be substantially lowered and will be distributed on a proportional basis if the settlement becomes final. Depending on the number of valid claims that are filed, the amount you receive for alternative compensation may be a small percentage of your initial claim," the company wrote in its email to consumers on Sunday.
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