If you are one of the millions of Americans whose personal information was exposed in the Equifax data breach, you may be wondering what you can do to protect yourself and get compensation. The good news is that there is an extended window for you to file a claim and receive benefits from the Equifax data breach settlement.
The bad news is that you need to act fast and follow some steps to make sure you get what you deserve. In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about the Equifax data breach extension, including what it is, who is eligible, how to file a claim and how to protect yourself from identity theft and fraud.
What is the Equifax Data Breach?
In 2017, there was a huge cyberattack on Equifax, a company that deals with people’s financial information. This breach affected over 147 million Americans and caused serious problems. The hackers were able to get into Equifax’s computer systems by finding a weakness in their website.
They took personal information like names, Social Security numbers, birthdates, addresses, credit card numbers, and sometimes even driver’s license numbers. This breach is one of the worst data breaches ever, putting millions of people at risk of identity theft and fraud.
What is the Equifax Data Breach Extension?
The Equifax data breach settlement was an agreement reached in 2019 between Equifax and several entities, including the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and 50 U.S. states and territories. The settlement offered various benefits to those affected by the breach, such as free credit monitoring services, cash payments, and reimbursement for financial losses and time spent.
The original deadline to file claims for the settlement was January 2020. However, due to the continued effects of the breach and the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the settlement administrator extended the deadline for specific types of claims until January 22, 2024. This means that if you experienced financial or time-related difficulties due to the breach between January 23, 2020, and January 22, 2024, you now have an opportunity to file a claim and seek compensation.
Who is Eligible for Compensation?
To be eligible for compensation from the Equifax data breach extension:
- You are a U.S. consumer whose personal information was impacted by the Equifax data breach announced on September 7, 2017.
- You experienced an issue with identity theft or fraud because of the breach during the extended claims period, which runs from January 23, 2020, to January 22, 2024.
- You have not received reimbursement for the claimed loss through other means.
How to File a Claim for the Equifax Data Breach Extension?
The deadline to file a claim for the Equifax data breach settlement was January 22, 2020. However, there is an extended period to claim reimbursement for out-of-pocket losses or time spent that occurred between January 23, 2020, and January 22, 2024. To file a claim for the extended period, you need to visit EquifaxBreachSettlement.com and complete an online form. The form will ask you for your contact information and allow you to specify which benefits you are claiming. You can choose from:
- Out-of-pocket losses: You can claim up to $20,000 per consumer for any expenses you incurred as a result of the breach, such as fees for identity theft services, legal fees, postage costs, etc. You will need to provide documentation to support your claim, such as receipts, invoices, statements, etc.
- Time spent: You can claim $25 per hour for up to 20 hours of time spent dealing with issues related to the breach, such as contacting creditors, filing police reports, disputing charges, etc. You will need to provide a brief description of the actions you took, and the approximate dates and hours spent.
- Alternative reimbursement compensation: The alternative reimbursement compensation of $125 is no longer available, as the funds allocated for this benefit have been exhausted. Instead, you can choose to receive free credit monitoring services from Experian for up to six years.
How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft and Fraud?
Even if you file a claim for the Equifax data breach extension, you should still take some steps to protect yourself from identity theft and fraud, such as:
- Reviewing your credit reports regularly and disputing any errors or suspicious activities. You can get free credit reports from Annual Credit Report every 12 months from each of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion).
- To protect your credit, use a security freeze to block access or a fraud alert to warn creditors of potential identity theft for free by contacting the three major credit bureaus.
- Ensure financial security by monitoring accounts, reporting suspicious transactions, using strong passwords, and refraining from public Wi-Fi for online banking safety.
- Remain alert and cautious against phishing scams from trusted entities like Equifax. Verify the sender’s identity before clicking links or sharing information.
Website security is a crucial aspect of running a successful online business. You need to protect your site from hackers, malware, viruses, and other online threats that can compromise your data, reputation, and revenue. One of the best ways to ensure your website security is to scan it regularly for vulnerabilities and malware using free online tools. These tools can help you detect and fix any issues before they cause serious damage to your site or your customers.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Equifax data breach extension is a valuable opportunity for individuals who were impacted by the Equifax data breach to file claims and receive compensation for their losses and time spent due to the breach. However, you need to act fast and follow some steps to make sure you get what you deserve.
You also need to take some measures to protect yourself from identity theft and fraud, such as monitoring your credit reports, placing security freezes or fraud alerts, and using credit monitoring or identity theft protection services. By doing so, you can safeguard your personal information and credit and minimize the impact of the breach.