The Equifax Hack Violated the Public Trust – What You Must Do
When we think about, “identity theft,” we think about shifty individuals hacking our computers or using similar such methods to steal our sensitive financial information. While such things can happen, sometimes identify theft occur due to our own bad judgment.
How many times have you received a, “PayPal Alert!” email that asked you to reply to a private email? Do you throw away expired credit or debit cards, or mail with sensitive information, like your Social Security number, without shredding them?
As long as you have the common sense not to do these things, then you are doing all that you can to not be a victim of identity theft. However, it is sometimes not enough. In 2017, over 14 million consumers were the victims of identity theft. Over $30 billion was stolen.
You Might Be a Victim of Identity Theft and Not Know It
The point is that nowadays you can be a victim of identity theft without being aware of it. And, through no fault of your own. In fact, over 56% of you reading this right now probably had your financial information stolen in July 2017.
There is nothing you can do about it. The company responsible won’t compensate you fairly. And, whoever stole your financial information has had it for a very long time now. Most people don’t even know that Equifax, a major credit scoring bureau, was hacked.
The Equifax Hack and Its Consequences
Equifax, one of the three major credit scoring bureaus, had its computer systems maliciously hacked in July 2017. The company did not reveal the hack for another month. Delaying the reveal of the hack ensured that whomever hacked Equifax got away with it.
Worse, those affected didn’t learn about it until long after the fact. This means that consumers who were exposed weren’t informed in time to protect themselves. The private financial and credit card information of over 150 million Americans was stolen in the July 2019 Equifax hack.
In all likelihood, your private financial information was exposed in the July 2019 Equifax hack. A website was created to help you verify if you were, and to file a claim against Equifax. All you have to do is enter your surname and the final 6 numbers of your Social Security number.
To my horror, I found out that my information was exposed in the Equifax hack. What worse is that there isn’t much we can do about it. It seems extremely unlikely Equifax will be investigated. And, consumers must jump through flaming bureaucratic hoops to get any compensation for this mess.
Equifax’s Settlement Terms
Equifax is offering $700 million in compensation, but only a small portion of that amount will be portioned out in direct payments. Technically, you can claim $20,000 from the company if you can prove the hack caused you to be defrauded. In reality, you won’t get anywhere near such an amount.
The Federal Trade Commission recommends that consumers accept a decade of free credit monitoring from Equifax, since no one would be able to claim even the $125 minimum settlement. Too many people are making claims and there isn’t enough money to go around.
If you act before January 22, 2020, you can make a claim. Or, you can try to lobby a local politician about the situation. There may also be some class actions lawsuits initiated. As of now, Equifax isn’t being investigated for this mess.
The public trust in a major credit scoring bureau was violated. Through no fault of our own, the financial records of over 56% of Americans was plundered. We don’t know by whom or what is being done about it. Consumers are left to fend for themselves. Doing nothing is the worst option of all.