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Equifax Says Uncle

Say Contributor

Equifax reached a settlement today, agreeing to make it up to consumers in the wake of its 2017 data breach scandal. Bad Credit Once one of the leading credit-monitoring bureaus, Equifax has been mired in bad press and lawsuits since a 2017 hack exposed the personal data (including social security numbers) of more than 150 million Americans, many of whom did not sign up Equifax’s credit-monitoring services and who were not happy that the company had made them ripe targets for identity theft. Equifax was widely criticized for not responding quickly enough to the hack; it’s been reported that the company was unaware of the breach until two months later. In response to the ensuing outrage, former CEO Rick Smith stepped down. Pay Up As part of the settlement, which still needs to be approved by the federal district court in the Northern District of Georgia (where the company is headquartered), the agreement would require Equifax to establish a $425 million consumer fund for monetary relief to consumers, and pay the the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau a $100 million civil money penalty. What’s In It For Me? As part of the deal, all U.S. citizens may request up to six free copies of their Equifax credit report during any 12-month period, and any affected consumers may be eligible to receive at least 10 years of free credit-monitoring and at least seven years of free identity-restoration services. Additionally, the FTC will help consumers file claims against the company for up to $20,000 to reimburse for expenses such as losses from unauthorized charges. Shareholders Speak One group likely to be happy with this outcome are Equifax shareholders, specifically Teamsters Local 443 Health Services & Insurance Plan, who filed a class action suit against the company in the wake of the breach. -Michael Tedder Photo: Tami Chappell /REUTERS