Equifax data breach: How to claim as much as $125 with the FTC settlement

File to get a share of the up to $700 million settlement.

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You can claim your share now.

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If your personal data was exposed in 2017 Equifax data breach, you can file a claim now to get back money spent or lost in the breach. As part of the settlement, you may file to recover money you spent to protect yourself from identity theft and on credit monitoring following the Equifax data breach. And if you signed up for credit monitoring, you can file a claim for $125 to cover that out of pocket expense. Note that the FTC said this week that because of the overwhelming public response to the settlement, the amount of cash you get to cover monitoring may be much less than $125.

The data breach of Equifax resulted in hackers accessing personal information on the credit report servers of 147 million consumers, including driver's license information, social security numbers and birthdates. 

The Federal Trade Commission and Equifax reached an agreement at the end of July for Equifax to pay at least $575 million and up to $700 million to compensate those whose personal data was exposed with the breach of the Equifax servers. As part of the settlement, you can file a claim to be compensated for the costs of recovering from the security breach -- including any costs associated with the theft of your identity and freezing and unfreezing your account-- and compensation of unauthorized charges to your banking accounts. The agreement caps payouts at $20,000 per person.

Watch this: Equifax breach: Find out if you can claim part of the $700 million

You can also submit a claim to cover the expense of protecting yourself from identity theft, following the Equifax data breach. You can file multiple claims, and if you're already signed up for credit monitoring, you can file a claim for $125 instead.

To get begin submitting a claim, check if your information was exposed as part of the data breach. Then, if your personal information was part of the hack, gather documents and files that support your claim and show your expenses and losses related to the hack. Finally, submit your claim to be compensated for your losses and other expenses. You have until Jan. 22, 2020, to file. The FTC said it is finding fake settlement websites, so check that you are using the real Equifax settlement site before you start to file your claim.

How to file a claim for the Equifax breach settlement

1. Use the official online tool you can use to check if you were part of the Equifax breach.

2. Enter your last name and last six digits of your social security number to see if your data was part of the hack.

3. If you and your data were part of the breach, head to the Equifax Data Breach Settlement website to file a claim to get back money.

4. You can mail your claim or have a claim form mailed to you, if you rather not use the site.

5. To complete your claim, select which benefits you are eligible for and gather the documents you need to support your claim -- including bank and credit card statements showing unauthorized charges, costs of freezing and unfreezing your account and fees paid to professionals such as accountants and lawyers to help with the theft.

How do I file for a $125 cash payment

If you signed up for a credit-monitoring service as a result of the breach, you are eligible to request a cash payment of $125. Use the same form to file your claim. And requesting the $125 does not prohibit you from submitting a claim to be compensated for other expenses and financial loses. 

The FTC cautions, however, that because of the enormous response to the settlement, the cash amount each person receives may be much less than $125 and recommends, instead, to choose the 10 years of free credit monitoring.