Equifax to pay $700 million in data-breach settlement

Equifax to pay $700 million in data-breach settlement

New Hampshire's attorney general says the state will get more than $1 million as part of a settlement with the credit reporting agency Equifax over a 2017 data breach that exposed Social Security numbers and other private information of almost 150 million people.

The FTC said Equifax failed to patch its network after being alerted in March 2017 to a critical security vulnerability affecting a database that handles inquiries from consumers about their personal credit data. Hackers were able to extract from Equifax's servers plenty of personal data, including names and birth dates, addresses, social security numbers, and some 209,000 payment card numbers and expiration dates. The proposed settlement will start with a $300 million fund to compensate affected consumers who bought credit-monitoring services.

The settlement requires the company to take steps to assist consumers who are facing identity theft issues and provide an opportunity to those affected to enroll in credit monitoring for 10 years at no cost to them. The company's board must also attest to Equifax's security efforts and could be fined for noncompliance.

The Attorney General said to file a claim Vermonters should register at online websites. Individuals under 18 years old at the time of the breach will receive 18 years of free credit monitoring.


For the cost of Equifax credit monitoring and related services you had between September 7, 2016, and September 7, 2017, capped at 25 percent of the total amount you paid.

Information for consumers will be posted at equifaxbreachsettlement.com, set up by the group that will handle claims. The payment breaks down to cover time spent dealing with the breach ($25 per hour), costs incurred for credit monitoring between September 7, 2016 and Sept 7.

But the ultimate price of Equifax's penalty is still uncertain: If all 147m victims cashed in on the free credit monitoring program Equifax will be required to offer, Equifax would pay more than $2B. For consumers impacted by the Equifax breach, today's settlement will make available up to $425 million for time and money they spent to protect themselves from potential threats of identity theft or addressing incidents of identity theft as a result of the breach.

Equifax mailed notifications in the fall of 2017 to people affected by the breach. But it's not clear how many might qualify for the full amount.


Consumers can file documents detailing what sort of information might have been stolen or harmed by identity theft.

The settlement, announced Monday by the Federal Trade Commission, must still be approved by the federal district court in the Northern District of Georgia. In an interview on Monday afternoon with CNBC, Begor said the fund could be operational by year's end.

"This settlement is just a drop in the bucket of what Equifax's disregard for privacy could cost American families", Democratic U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for the MA attorney general, who along with IN, is not participating IN the settlement, said its litigation against the company was ongoing.


New Hampshire is among the 48 states that have reached a settlement with Equifax, after its 2017 breach of consumer data.

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