FOX43 Finds Out: Getting the most money out of the Equifax data breach settlement

Equifax has agreed to pay about a $700 million settlement because of the 2017 data breach that impacted millions of Americans.

That breach compromised information of 147 million Americans, including names, social security numbers, birth dates and addresses.

At least $380 million of that settlement is set aside for a Consumer Restitution Fund.

"That's the mom who spent 3 or 4 hours on the phone trying to work through the equifax data breach, she's going to get paid $25 per hour she spent wasting time dealing with this data breach," said Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

5 and a half million Pennsylvanians were impacted by the breach.

That`s about half the people in the state.

Shapiro says those victims should file a claim.

"If you burned 2 or 3 hours on the phone, if you spent $20-30 to manage your credit, whatever the case may be , you should put in for that money and you should get that money back," said the Attorney General.

There`s a website set up by the settlement administrator where people can find out if they are eligible for relief and can file a claim.

That's https://www.equifaxbreachsettlement.com.

By the way, the first several hours that website launched, people were getting a message stating the website was not secure.

It seems that issue has now been fixed.

We do know the maximum a person can get is $20,000 for things like out-of-pocket expenses related to the breach.

Victims could get paid for the time they spent trying to remedy the data breach, $25 bucks an hour, for up to 20 hours.

If you submit a claim for less than 10 hours, you need to describe the actions you took and time you spent to do those things.

If you file a claim for more than 20 hours, you need to describe what you did and give proof.

Things like Account statements with unauthorized charges highlighted; police reports; IRS documents; or even phone bills showing you were on the calling people to fix the issue.

You can submit all of that information when you file a claim.

Besides hard cash, the federal trade commission says consumers are also getting the option of free credit monitoring and a million dollars in identity theft insurance.

If you already have credit monitoring from company, and it will continue for another 6 months, you can get an additional $125.

It begs the question though, why would you want free credit monitoring through Equifax if that agency already exposed your data?

Shapiro says things at Equifax should be more secure now.

"The infrastructure at Equifax is much stronger today than it was a couple of years ago, and that's a result of this settlement," the AG said.

The attorney general says this settlement should be a warning to other companies: invest in security and technology or pay the price later.

Shapiro said, "I think that this settlement should send shock waves through corporate America."

A lot of experts say you should rely too heavily on credit monitoring to make sure there`s no fraud.

Instead, you can get a credit freeze.

Which, thanks to the Equifax data breach, is now free.

Here`s the difference: Credit monitoring let`s you know when your information is being used.

A credit freeze can prevent the crooks from using to your information in most cases.

Here's some more information related to the data breach and the claims process:

Find out if your eligible: https://eligibility.equifaxbreachsettlement.com/en/eligibility

How to file a claim: https://www.equifaxbreachsettlement.com/file-a-claim3

Deadlines: https://www.equifaxbreachsettlement.com/dates

If you have a story you want Jackie to look into, FOX43 wants to find out.

Send her a message on Facebook or email FOX43FindsOut@FOX43.com.

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