$700M settlement may resolve suit, report says

$700M settlement may resolve suit, report says


Kelly Tyko


USA TODAY

Equifax Inc. could be close to settling state and federal investigations into the massive 2017 data breach that exposed the personal information of 148 million Americans, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Journal reported Friday night that under the agreement Equifax would pay $700 million to settle with the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and most state attorneys general. The deal would also resolve a nationwide consumer class-action lawsuit, the Journal reported.

An announcement on the settlement could come as soon as Monday, people familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal.

The company would be required to make changes to how it handles and protects consumer data and establish a “fund to compensate consumers for harm suffered because of the breach,” people familiar with the matter told the paper.

The dollar figure could change based on the number of consumer claims, the report said.

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The hack exposed the personal data of 148 million Americans, including Social Security numbers, often required as a key identifying factor to open new accounts.

In September 2018, a year after Equifax disclosed the data breach, a new federal law went into effect where every American can freeze their credit reports for free at Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, the three national credit bureaus. Before, it cost people in 23 states $3 to $10 per bureau to freeze their credit report.

A freeze prevents lenders from pulling a person’s credit report – a key part of the approval process for a credit card or loan – essentially preventing fraudsters from opening a new account in your or your child’s name.

Contributing: Janna Herron, USA TODAY

Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko

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