By Jordan Milkovich
The FTC claims Equifax failed to properly protect the stored data of about 147 million people, and now they have to pay up. You can use this tool to see if you were among those affected.
What Was Stolen?
The FTC claims the exposed data included names, birth dates, social security numbers, addresses and other sensitive information. Watch your credit closely because this could easily lead to identity theft or fraud.
Equifax supposedly knew about a vulnerability in its network and failed to take action leading up to the attack. Its stated hackers were able to operate in the database for months before they were detected. The data was also stored in plain text, which if you’re not that familiar with network security, is pretty basic for companies to encrypt their customers' sensitive information.
The process is quite simple. Using the tool, you have to enter the last six digits of your social security number and your last name. The report will then notify you whether or not you’re eligible based on that criteria. If you are, click the "File Now" option which will lead you to a form. The form asks for your name, address and email. It’s a surprisingly quick process.
From there, you will be asked if you spent any time or money on filing fraud claims or regaining your assets due to the data breach. You will be compensated $25 an hour, up to 20 hours. Be prepared to explain what measures you had to take. The last screen asks whether you would prefer $125 in compensation via check or pre-paid card or you can receive free credit monitoring services for four years if you don’t already have a service.
As for how long it will take to receive that check, that's unknown right now.
Thankfully we have companies to protect consumers, which is what FTC strives to do. While $125 is a small fee to pay for what was potentially stolen from you, it could help many people out.
Monitoring and improving your credit score can make the difference in many life decisions if you would feel better having a peace of mind then take the credit monitoring services. Want to find out if you're eligible? Start your claim here.
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