Equifax to pay up to $700 million for data breach

Washington DC Bureau

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced Monday the details of a settlement with Equifax over one of the largest data breaches in history.

It’s been nearly two years since the credit-reporting agency revealed the personal information of 147 million people had been exposed.

Equifax has agreed to spend up to $425 million to directly help those affected by the breach.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) says Equifax put tens of millions of Americans at risk of losing money and control of their identities.

“Equifax, through unfair and deceptive practices, broke the law both before and after the breach,” CFPB Director Kathleen Kraninger said.

As a result, Equifax will have to pay up to $700 million.

“At least $300 million of this money will go directly to consumers through a consumer fund through a federal court,” FTC Chairman Joe Simons explained.

Simons said Equifax will also pay hundreds of millions more in fines and penalties to be shared by the federal and state governments.

Consumers will be eligible for at least four years of free credit monitoring or $125 cash. People who had their identity stolen or money drained from their account could be eligible for reimbursement of up to $20,000.

Maryland attorney General Brian Frosh, a state partner in the investigation, says the victims in his state alone number more than 3 million, most of whom were not even Equifax customers.

“We did not choose Equifax. Equifax, in fact, chose us. It collected our personal information,” Frosh said.

The FTC said it will let consumers know when and how to sign up for credit monitoring or cash once a federal court signs off on the settlement.

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