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Equifax Data Breach Penalty To Cost $700M

Equifax will pay up to $700 million in fines and monetary relief to consumers over a 2017 data breach at the credit reporting bureau that affected nearly 150 million people.

The proposed settlement, which is subject to approval by a federal court, was announced Monday by the company, the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and 50 states and territories.

The consumer data exposed in the breach included Social Security numbers, birthdates and addresses and, in some cases, driver’s license numbers.

CFPB Director Kathleen Kraninger said the settlement includes $425 million to cover the “time and money [people affected by the breach] spent to protect themselves from potential threats of identity theft or addressing incidents of identity theft as a result of the breach.”

Equifax also agreed to pay $175 million to the states and $100 million to the CFPB in civil penalties.

And, starting in January, Equifax “will provide all U.S. consumers with six free credit reports each year for seven years,” the FTC said. That’s in addition to the free annual credit reports that Equifax, and the two other nationwide credit reporting agencies — Experian and TransUnion — currently provide.

Under the settlement, affected consumers will be eligible for free credit monitoring. Those who already have credit monitoring services for at least six months can request a $125 cash payment.

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