(CNN) — If you’re among the 147 million Americans whose credit data was compromised in the 2017 Equifax data breach, read on. You may qualify for compensation.
The Federal Trade Commission ruled Monday that credit reporting agency Equifax will have to pay up to $700 million in individual compensation and civil penalties because of the hack.
According to the commission’s online claims process, those whose personal information was exposed can get free credit monitoring for 10 years: four years via the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) and six years specifically through Equifax.
You can choose to receive $125 if you already have credit monitoring.
Equifax can provide larger sums, up to $20,000, for those who had to spend time and money as a result of the breach.
These losses may include unauthorized charges on your accounts, attorney’s or accountant fees, the cost of freezing or unfreezing your credit report, or the cost of credit monitoring, according to the FTC.
You can get paid $25 per hour for up to 20 hours of personal time spent if you can provide documentation about your time spent grappling with the data breach failure.
You can file a claim through Equifax’s data breach settlement page. Equifax has a website where you can find out whether your personal information was exposed.
The deadline for excluding yourself or opting out of the settlement process is November 19, and by January 22 all claims must be filed.
The data breach was the greatest historical breach
In September 2017, Equifax disclosed that hackers had exploited a security flaw to gain access to the company’s customer data.
Sensitive information was exposed, including names, birthdates, driver’s license numbers, Social Security numbers and addresses.
Equifax will have to pay between $300 million and $425 million to the people whose data has been exposed and another $275 million in civil penalties to 48 states, Washington, Puerto Rico and the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, according to the settlement.
“Companies that profit from personal information have an extra responsibility to protect and secure that data,” FTC Chairman Joe Simons said in a statement. “Equifax failed to take basic steps that may have prevented the breach.”