Washington (July 22, 2019) – Equifax Inc. settled multiple U.S. probes and a pending class-action lawsuit over the 2017 data breach with a record amount of up to US$650 million, Reuters reports. More than 143 million Americans and Canadians sensitive information had been stolen from the credit-reporting company in July 2017.
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The privacy breach drew attention to how private companies accumulate personal information about their customers without effective data protection. The consequences for Equifax contain the largest-ever settlement for a data breach.
The settlement stipulates that Equifax establishes a restitution fund in the amount of US$300 million to US$425 million depending on its us. Fraud victims are eligible to submit claims on the fund or consumers who bore costs for credit-monitoring services in the aftermath of the breach. Moreover, affected consumers obtain ten years of free credit monitoring from Equifax. The credit-reporting company also ensured to bolster its security practices, by simplifying processes for consumers regarding stoppage of credit or inaccurate information in credit reports, and is having its policies assessed by a third party on a regular basis.
Additionally, the company was fined US$175 million by U.S. states and US$50 million by the Consumer Financial Protection Board (CFPB).