Why You Must File a Claim Against the Equifax Hack

Identity theft is an unspeakable scourge for many people, almost like Freddy Krueger. It’s something that we may pretend only happens to other people. Almost 17 million people were the victims of identity fraud in 2017. About $30 billion is estimated to have been stolen from unsuspecting people.  Also, identity thieves don’t even need a credit card number to ruin your life.

More Social Security numbers are being stolen now than credit card numbers. So, what do we do about it? We hope it will never happen to us, we guard our debit PIN numbers, shred personal information at home, and check our credit reports annually. However, an identity thief can make you a victim, even if you did nothing wrong. Right now, over 56% of Americans are victims of a hack into the data systems of a major credit score reporting bureau, Equifax.

It’s an unbelievable breach of trust that is not getting enough news coverage. You should know about it, how it happened, and how to file a claim against Equifax. Why? Chances are better than 56% that a hacker has your personal credit history details. This is information that should have been protected by Equifax. Click here to check at the official federal settlement site to see if your information was compromised in the Equifax hack. I found out that my own information was compromised.

The Equifax Data Hack

The data systems of Equifax were hacked in July 2017. Incredibly, Equifax only notified the public a month later. The personal information of over 147 million Americans, like S.S. numbers, birthdates, addresses, and credit card information, was stolen in the hack. Not much is known about the hack beyond what Equifax has belatedly revealed.

Settlement Option

Equifax will pay up to $700 million in settlements in coordination with federal investigations and to compensate those who might have been affected. The problem is that the claims process is excessively bureaucratic, process intensive, and could take months or years to dole out compensation. Even then, most people probably won’t get the compensation they deserve.

You can claim $25, up to 20 hours, for every hour that you claim you lost time and money dealing with the hack instead of work. If you can prove that you were victimized by fraud via the hack and had to pay out-of-pocket to deal with frozen credit reports, you might be able to claim $20,000. However, you probably won’t get that amount, and you must provide exhaustingly thorough proof, records, and receipts of your ordeal.

The Federal Trade Commission is advising the public that most people won’t even be eligible for the minimum claim of $125. Millions of people are filing claims and Equifax only offered $31 million for direct and immediate compensation.  Even if you don’t file a claim, you are legally entitled to get six free credit report checks from Equifax for a decade and identity theft insurance worth. $1 million.

Fight the Power

The FTC believes that you should file a claim for the free and extended credit monitoring from Equifax. If Equifax’s $700 million settlement was divided into $125 payments, only about 248,000 could qualify. The company has yet to reveal the depth of the hack and is not making the claims process convenient. Even if you only qualify for the extended credit monitoring, you should make a claim.

The deadline is January 22, 2020. There is a better than one-in-two chance that your credit history information was compromised. It should anger all of us.

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