I have been reporting to you about the about the avoidable Equifax data breach in which personal data on more than 147 million people was stolen and legal actions related to the data breach since 2017 when the data breach occurred. The personal information compromised in the data breach included the names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers of 147 million people putting them in serious danger of identity theft for the rest of their lives. Equifax settled the claims brought by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and all but two of the states’ Attorneys General related to the data breach long ago, but the settlement did not become final until just a few days ago.

The initial deadline to file a claim in regard to the settlement was January 22, 2020, however you can still file a claim for expenses you incur between January 23, 2020 and January 22, 2024 related to losses from unauthorized charges to your accounts or fees you paid to professionals such as accountants or lawyers that help you recover from identity theft as well as incidental expenses you incur such as notary fees, or postage.  You also can file a claim for the time you personally spent taking actions to recover from identity theft between January 23, 2020 and January 22, 2024.  Here is a link to file such a claim. https://www.equifaxbreachsettlement.com/file-a-claim  There are a lot of scammers constructing phony websites related to the settlement so it is important to make sure you use the correct website.

Don’t be surprised if you get an email or a snail mail letter from the settlement administrator if you filed a claim requesting free credit monitoring services as a part of the settlement.  You will get a free membership in Experian IdentityWorks for four years for free.  You can enroll for your free credit monitoring by using this website. https://www.experianidworks.com/equifaxsettlement.  At the website you will be prompted to provide the activation code that you received in your email or letter.  You also can call 877-251-5822 for assistance.

You will not be called on the phone about the settlement.  Anyone doing so is a scammer and you should not provide personal information in response to such a call.  If you have questions about the settlement, however, you can call the settlement administrator at 833-759-2982.

TIPS

In addition, to following up on your benefits pursuant to the settlement as indicated above, this is also a good time to remind you that if you haven’t frozen your credit reports at all three of the major credit reporting bureaus, you should do so at this time.

Here are the links to do so.

Even after freezing your credit reports, you should still regularly monitor them to look for indications of identity theft. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the three major credit reporting bureaus are offering free weekly online credit reports through April 2022. The weekly free reports can be ordered online only through the official website: www.AnnualCreditReport.com.
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