What happens if you don't claim your $125 Equifax money?

What happens if you don't claim your $125 Equifax money?

- After a massive 2017 data breach that resulted in 147 million people's sensitive personal and financial data being stolen, Equifax is now being ordered to pay up, according to an announcement from the FTC.

Here's the catch for this Equifax offer: You can only claim the cash in the settlement if you certify you already have a credit monitoring service.

If you live in the US, there's a one in two chance that some of your sensitive data was exposed in the 2017 Equifax breach.

The credit bureau settled with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission, 48 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. If you were, then you can apply for your piece of the settlement as either a cash payment of $125 or four years of free credit monitoring at all three credit bureaus.

Claims are due by January 22, 2020, the FTC said, with qualified disbursements beginning on January 23, 2020. Compromised data included social security numbers, addresses, and more. You'll have to provide a fair amount of documentation for this part, so unless it's something you legitimately spent a lot of time on and have the records to prove it, you can just click next and move on.

For full details on the settlement, claims and to find out if you are eligible, check the FTC's website here. Equifax will pay a total of at least $575 million, but denies wrongdoing.

Those consumers who have documentation available to support the claim that they should be entitled to a sum over $125 can "bill" the company via claim at $25 per hour for each hour spent remedying the effects of the breach.

- Freezing and/or unfreezing your credit, comparing and/or purchasing identity theft protection services, up to 10 hours, and you must certify that you are being truthful.

Equifax says it hasn't seen much of an increase in identity theft, but it is hard to tell precisely who has been affected and how.

If you've already availed of credit monitoring, you can either get 10 years of free monitoring or only $125 if you decide not to enroll.

Regardless of which type of claim you're filing, you visit the same website. If you select "yes", you will be presented with a form asking you to provide detailed information and to upload documents supporting your claim. And starting next year, Equifax will give all consumers six free credit reports every year for seven years, as well as free assisted identity-restoration services.

If there is any money left to compensate consumers after the initial rounds of claims, there will be an extended claims period for losses that occur after the first deadline.

You can also request a claim form be mailed to you.

If you need to unfreeze briefly, that process is also free.

"You can not determine with certainty that the information will never wind up in the hands of people who are going to use it", said Ryan Calo, a law professor at the University of Washington.

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