Nearly two years after one of the world's largest consumer reporting agencies revealed a huge data breach affecting social security numbers, credit card numbers, and other sensitive information, the nation's attorneys general have announced a huge settlement.
It could help Delaware consumers who have had to rebuild their credit, or perhaps reclaim their stolen identities.
A total of $425 million in restitution could be available to consumers nationwide.
"The settlement will send a loud and clear message to other companies to protect the privacy of consumer data," Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings said. "Companies like Equifax that collect and maintain personal information are entrusted with an obligation to maintain its privacy and its security. Equifax breached that trust."
"It was really a focus on doing the right thing for consumers," Equifax CEO Mark Begor added. He also said the FBI and the Department of Justice are still trying to find the people who were responsible for the data breach.
The State of Delaware will also get $1 million from Equifax for its Consumer Protection Fund, which pays for consumer protection investigations and activities.
A coalition of attorneys general began an investigation shortly after Equifax announced in September 2017 that more than 147 million consumers--nearly half of the US population--were affected by a data breach. The investigation found that Equifax failed to implement an adequate security program and that it did not completely patch a software problem.
If a consumer believes he or she is eligible for redress, claims must be submitted online, by mail or on the phone. Information is available by calling 833-759-2982 or by visiting www.ftc.gov/equifax-data-breach.
Affected consumers may qualify for free credit monitoring, cash payments for time and costs incurred, as well as free identity restoration.