In what many have termed the most significant data breach in known history will end up costing Equifax to the tune of $700 to settle. Back in September of 2017, hackers reportedly found a method to exploit a security flaw in the company's system.
As a result, the Social Security numbers, as well as other private information, was obtained from an estimated 150 million people. The sensitive private information that was reported to have been obtained was that of names, birthdates, driver's license numbers, and addresses, and in some cases, data contained on passports.
As a result of this far-reaching breach, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a ruling on Monday that requires Equifax, a credit reporting agency, to pay up to $700 million in both compensations to individuals impacted by the hack, as well as civil penalties.
Although a statement made by Equifax CEO Mark Begor indicated a contradiction in the amount involved, it seems Equifax is choosing to own up to the incident: "The consumer fund of up to $425 million that we are announcing today reinforces our commitment to putting consumers first and safeguarding their date—and reflects the seriousness with which we take this matter."
Even though Equifax’s stock plunged a massive 30% in the days that followed the announcement of the breach, they have reported return to the levels they were before the incident. At the opening bell of the stock exchange, Equifax Inc rose an estimated 2%, to trading at $140.26
Along with the announcement of the breach, comes word that those consumers who were affected maybe be eligible for monetary compensation. To receive any compensation, consumers may file one or more claims, stating the amount of money spent on credit monitoring or identity theft protection that they felt they needed to purchase following the breach of information. Also eligible in the claims are the costs associated with the processes of freezing and unfreezing of ones credit reports with any consumer reporting agency.
If those consumers involved choose not to take advantage of enrolling in the free credit monitoring available through the settlement, they may file for the $125 reimbursement that is available to put towards the cost of their choice of credit-monitoring service. Either way, consumers must go through the process of submitting a claim in order to receive either the free credit monitoring or any cash reimbursements.
The Monday announcement served as confirmation of a recent Wall Street Journal report that indicated that the affected credit reporting agency had indeed reached a deal with the US.
So, what’s the verdict—you decide.
Are credit reporting agencies secure enough with consumers vital information?