Data breaches place almost everyone at risk for credit report mistakes. That Equifax — a company charged by law with protecting victims of identity theft and ensuring data integrity — failed to prevent this breach is a bitter irony.
Consumers should regularly check their credit reports for inaccurate information. The Fair Credit Reporting Act enshrines consumers’ rights to accurate credit reports. For more information, visit https://nyconsumerlaw.
Credit reporting agency Equifax has reached a deal to pay up to $700 million to state and federal regulators to settle probes stemming from a data breach that exposed the personal information of nearly 150 million people. It will be the largest settlement ever paid for a data breach.
The Federal Trade Commission announced Monday that Equifax will pay at least $300 million and as much as $425 million to compensate affected people with credit monitoring services. That money will go into a fund that will also reimburse people who purchased credit- or identity-monitoring services because of the 2017 data breach. The amount of the settlement could change depending on the number of claims still to be filed by consumers.
Equifax will also pay $275 million in civil penalties and other compensation to 48 states, Washington, Puerto Rico and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The deal also requires more changes to how Equifax handles private user data. For example, the company will have to adjust its information security protocols, including annual assessments of security risks and receiving the board’s certification attesting that the company has complied with the FTC’s order.