Over 1 million Kansans suffered data breach, company at fault reaches settlement

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Equifax Inc.

FILE – This July 21, 2012, file photo shows signage at the corporate headquarters of Equifax Inc., in Atlanta. Equifax will pay up to $700 million to settle with the Federal Trade Commission and others over a 2017 data breach that exposed Social Security numbers and other private information of nearly 150 million people. The proposed settlement with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, if approved by the federal district court Northern District of Georgia, will provide up to $425 million in monetary relief to consumers, a $100 million civil money penalty, and other relief. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart, File)

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The company at fault for a data breach that left over 1 million Kansans data exposed has reached a settlement Monday afternoon, according to Attorney General Derek Schmidt.

If you were a part of the 1.1 million Kansans who had their data compromised in the 2017 Equifax data breach, you could receive compensation from the money dedicated to consumer payment for damages.

Equifax agreed to a settlement which includes a Consumer Restitution Fund of up to $425 million, of which Kansas will receive $1.3 million.

The company will also offer affected consumers extended credit-monitoring services for a total of 10 years.

In 2017, hackers broke through Equifax’s security system and exposed highly personal data that affected more than 147 million customers, about 56 percent of Americans, making it the largest ever breach of consumer data.

The investigation found that the breach occurred because Equifax failed to implement an adequate security program to protect consumers’ highly sensitive personal information. Despite knowing about a critical vulnerability in its software, Equifax failed to fully patch its systems. Moreover, Equifax failed to replace software that monitored the breached network for suspicious activity. As a result, the attackers penetrated Equifax’s system and went unnoticed for 76 days.

Excerpt from AG Derek Schmidt’s press release on the settlement

Breached information included social security numbers, names, dates of birth, addresses, credit card numbers, and in some cases driver’s license numbers.

Kansas, in addition to 49 other states reached a settlement Monday, following a multi-state investigation spanning multiple years.

“Securing today’s settlement was especially important because of the sheer number of people who were affected,” Schmidt said. “This is the largest data breach enforcement action in history, and all Kansans should inquire with the settlement administrator about whether their information was put at risk and whether they are eligible for consumer restitution as a result.”

The settlement detailed what exactly the money could be paid out for:

Cash Payments (capped at $20,000 per person)
  • For expenses, you paid as a result of the breach, like:
    • Losses from unauthorized charges to your accounts
    • The cost of freezing or unfreezing your credit report
    • The cost of credit monitoring
    • Fees you paid to professionals like an accountant or attorney
    • Other expenses like notary fees, document shipping fees and postage, mileage, and phone charges
  • For the time you spent dealing with the breach. You can be compensated $25 per hour up to 20 hours.
  • For the cost of Equifax credit monitoring and related services you had between September 7, 2016, and September 7, 2017, capped at 25 percent of the total amount you paid.

For answers to frequently asked questions, information about available restitution, and to sign up to receive email updates about the settlement, consumers should visitwww.ftc.gov/equifax-data-breach or call the settlement administrator at 1-833-759-2982.

Sign up to get email updates about this settlement or read through a copy here.

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