Wednesday is the deadline to seek cash payments and claim free services as part of Equifax’s $700 million settlement over a massive data breach.
The breach in 2017, affecting 147 million people, was one of the largest ever to threaten private information. The compromised data included Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, driver license numbers, credit card numbers and in some cases, data from passports. Criminals can use those bits of personal information to commit identity theft.
Equifax’s settlement with the U.S. government entitles affected consumers to free credit-monitoring and identity-restoration services for the next several years. Consumers may also be eligible for money for their time or reimbursement for certain services.
You can make a claim if you can show you suffered identity theft “fairly traceable” to the breach or if you can document you spent time and money dealing with securing your credit because of the breach, even if you weren’t subject to identity theft. That could include signing up for credit-monitoring services.
The $700 million settlement sounds like a lot of money but Georgia residents only get about $7 million.
Channel 2 consumer advisor Clark Howard says its best to ask for the free credit monitoring.
“It’s a joke. We were first told how much money we would be eligible for and now it looks like we’ll get about 3 cents per person,” Clark said.
The deadline is midnight on Wednesday night.
MAKING THE CLAIM
You must submit a claim to receive any of the benefits.
Regulators suggest that you save any documents related to your efforts to avoid or recover from identity theft.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
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