Credit reporting agency Equifax could pay about $700 million to state and federal regulators as a settlement for the data breach that exposed the personal information of 143 million people. The hack, the largest in US history, exposed sensitive information, including names, Social Security numbers, drivers’ license numbers and addresses. The Equifax settlement would also resolve a nationwide consumer class-action lawsuit.
The settlement could be announced as soon as Monday, the people said. The amount Equifax ultimately pays could shift based on the number of consumer claims that are eventually filed. The settlement would establish a fund to compensate consumers for harm suffered because of the breach, according to people familiar with the matter. A website and call center would be set up to handle the claims, WSJ reports. The Equifax settlement would also require the company to make additional changes to how it handles and protects consumer data.
The attack on the company represents one of the largest risks to personally sensitive information in recent years. Criminals gained access to certain files in the company’s system from mid-May to July by exploiting a weak point in website software. The breach was reported by Equifax only three months later.
Unlike other data breaches, not all of the people affected by the Equifax breach may be aware that they’re customers of the company. Equifax gets its data from credit card companies, banks, retailers, lenders and other institutions who report on the credit activity of individuals to credit reporting agencies. To see if your personal information is potentially impacted, you can go here, click “Am I impacted” and submit name and the last six digits of your social security number.