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Record $650 Million In Settlement To Be Paid By Equifax For Data Breach

Record $650 Million In Settlement To Be Paid By Equifax For Data Breach
A record fine worth $650 million for settlement of charges of a massive data breach of users’ personal information against it back in 2017 brought in the United States federal and state agencies will be paid by credit reporting company Equifax Inc to get itself absolved of the investigations and charges against it, reports quoting authorities.
There had been multiple investigations against the company by the US Federal Trade Commission, the US Consumer Financial Protection Board and almost every state attorneys generals which would be brought to an end by the largest ever settlement in the US of charges of data breach. This settlement also would absolve all pending class-action lawsuits that had been brought against Equifax.
“This company’s ineptitude, negligence, and lax security standards endangered the identities of half the U.S. population,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement.
The charges of data brought against Equifax, which is among the three major credit-reporting companies in the United States, are related to its 2017 disclosure of a data breach which the company claimed had put to risk a host of personal information of about 143 million Americans which included information such as their Social Security numbers.
The revelations had caused a huge turmoil in the company as it’s the then chief executive was forced to leave the company and the image of the company was severely tarnished as it was highly criticized by many for its security practices and the slow speed with which the news of the breach incident was disclosed by it. Lawmaker in the US also questioned the process and the capacity of a privately owned company like Equifax to amass such huge amount of personal data of Americans which also bolstered the efforts of the government and the lawmakers there to increase the legal options of consumers to better secure and control their personal data and information.
The deal for the settlement of the charges against it, Equifax will create a $300 million restitution fund for those consumers who had been affected by the breach and that fund could reach as much as $425 million depending on how it is used. Under the settlement deal, all those consumers who believe that they had been victims of fraud have to present submit claims with the company. Those consumers who had also set up credit-monitoring services even after the incident of breach and believe that they had been victims of a fraud could also submit claims. .
In addition to the fund, a $175 million fine to the states and $50 million to the CFPB would also be paid by Equifax.
The deal also mandates that the company would provide credit monitoring service free of cost for 10 years for all of the affected consumers. In the settlement deal, the company also agreed that the process of freezing their credit or disputing inaccurate information in credit reports would also be made a lot easier.
Bolstering of its data security practices and policies would also be done by Equifax as well as get those policies and practices checked by third parties on a regular basis.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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