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High-level look at the Equifax data breach settlement, what your customers should know, and what you can do to help your customers prepare for another breach of this magnitude.
Remember the 2017 Equifax data breach – the one that exposed 147 million people’s personal identifiable information (PII)? Well, today, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the company has agreed to a global settlement with the FTC, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and 50 U.S. states and territories that includes up to $425 million to help those affected by the breach. While complete details have not been released yet, here are a few things you should share with your customers regarding the settlement.
What Your Customers Should Know
- This settlement shows that the U.S. government is well aware of the severity of the breach. The Equifax settlement is the largest data breach settlement paid by a company in history, requiring Equifax to put a minimum of $380.5 million into a restitution fund for American consumers who file showing that they were financially harmed by the breach. The settlement includes cash payments to affected individuals, as well as other services; however, please advise your customers that they cannot yet file a claim, though once the claim process begins, they can request the cash payments (up to $20,000 per person) for expenses paid as a result of the breach.
- The settlement’s 7 years of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection services also highlights the general uncertainty around the length of time your customers could potentially be affected by the breach. As we have all come to realize, just because a breach occurred, does not mean the hackers will immediately sell the stolen data. It could take years before anyone is truly able to see the full extent of the consequences of the breach, making it more important than ever to have an identity protection service in place indefinitely.
- If your customers already have credit monitoring, they could get $125 from the settlement. Yes, the settlement also offers free credit monitoring and assisted identity restoration service. And while these services are for the affected, it’s going to be yet another thing added to your customer’s long list of “to-do’s,” especially considering the extremely long wait times (if they’re even able to eventually get through) consumers reported in the immediate aftermath of the breach. This is on top of consumers reporting issues getting and using their unique PIN from Equifax’s website, as well as the maze they had to navigate in order to reach a live person. And, with 64% of consumers stating that they’re looking for an identity protection service to save them time if they become a victim of identity theft, the long waits and time consuming processes seem counter-intuitive.
It’s also not been confirmed who will be providing the restoration services through the settlement, and when it comes to identity protection, the care and expertise around providing this type of service is of utmost importance for people who do find themselves the victim of identity fraud. Without an established identity protection service in place, your customers might find themselves in this same position of relying on a court-mandated identity protection service that may or may not save them time and provides proper protection if another breach of this magnitude happens again.
Generali Global Assistance’s (GGA) 360° award-winning and time-saving identity protection provides your customers with the ultimate peace of mind so they don’t have to do all the extra stuff every time a breach occurs. With GGA’s history in the industry and quality reputation, we are the ideal choice for your customers. We pride ourselves on being proactive, not reactive, and our U.S.-based, certified Identity Theft Specialists and online resources are available 24/7 to educate customers about how identity theft and cybercrime occurs as well as provide tips and monitoring tools to help keep their identity and digital privacy secure.