Equifax consumers face uphill battle for claims
By Evan Sully
July 22 (Reuters) - Consumers affected by the massive
Equifax Inc data breach in 2017 will not reap any
windfalls from the credit reporting company's $700 million U.S.
settlement announced on Monday, but may face a cumbersome
process to get compensation.
Federal Trade Commission officials said those among the 147
million consumers who had to spend time or money to protect
their information or fight identity theft after the September
2017 data breach could be entitled to compensation.
Consumers can file documents detailing what sort of
information might have been stolen or harmed by identity theft.
They need not prove the theft occurred during the Equifax hack,
but simply show their identities were stolen after the breach,
Consumers can also seek repayment for time spent responding
to the Equifax breach, at $25 per hour for up to 20 hours.
Documentation must be provided, but consumers can "self-certify"
up to 10 hours. Any time spent addressing identity theft or
fraud issues after the breach, seeking credit monitoring, or
freezing credit reports can be reimbursed.
Equifax will cover the cost of four years of credit
monitoring from all three credit bureaus, including Experian Plc
and TransUnion, and up to $1 million in
identity theft protection. After that, Equifax will provide
another six years of credit monitoring.
Anyone who was a minor at the time of the breach is eligible
for 18 years of free credit monitoring.
"That is a significant benefit," said Norman Siegel of
Kansas City's Stueve Siegel, an attorney and chairman of the
settlement committee who led the negotiations on behalf of
consumers in class-action lawsuits. "We have also tried to make
this process as simple as possible."
The settlement is subject to court approval.
(Reporting by Evan Sully; Additional reporting by Pete
Schroeder in Washington; Editing by Richard Chang)
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