In 2017, Equifax compromised the private data of 147 million users across the U.S., which raised severe digital security concerns. Furthermore, when people realized that the company could have avoided the breach through basic safety practices, many grew hungry for action.
After all, if officials didn’t make an example of Equifax, what will keep other companies from neglecting similar security standards?
Last week, the corporation settled with the Federal Trade Commission by agreeing to pay compensation fees that will span between $575 million and $700 million. Even at the low end of that range, this will be the largest fine over data mishandling in U.S. history.
Settlement terms suggest that those affected by the breach will receive a $125 payout after they file a claim. While some have pointed out this amount is only a fraction of what Equifax should owe, many consumers are filing regardless. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York even sent out a tweet encouraging her followers to try and get any monetary compensation they can.
The problem is, it turns out claimants are probably getting much less than what they are hoping for.
In an ugly case of misinterpreted fine print, $125 is how much someone supposedly can receive. However, it’s not what someone should expect.
Developer Rufo Sanchez recently pointed out that the more people who sign up, the less money everyone gets. Or rather, with the funds allotted, only 248,000 people could receive a full $125 payout. Unfortunately, the number shrinks for every additional recipient.
It’s all detailed in a hefty PDF of legal speak. Basically, if all 147 million victims signed up, each person would only walk away with a whopping $0.21.
However, it’s also true that if fewer people file for payment, everyone will receive a larger amount. But that seems unlikely. Thanks to heavy media reporting on the subject, news about this increasingly less lucrative opportunity is spreading rapidly.
A Bigger Breach Than Many Realize
The Equifax breach resulted in leaked private user data, including social security numbers, for a vast portion of the nation.
However, because of some irksome loopholes between state laws, many affected users were never notified that their private data was compromised. Furthermore, many people didn’t know a breach took place within Equifax at all.
Even worse, cases of severe identity theft have undoubtedly occurred as a result of this incident. For instance, investigators found multiple social security numbers for sale on the dark web that originated from Equifax. This means some people were unaware of an identity theft risk until it was too late.
With all this in mind, to see if Equifax’s breach impacted your personal information, check this link. Furthermore, if you were unfortunate enough to be affected, you can find out how much compensation you’ll get if you file your claim here.