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Montana attorney general announces historic Equifax data breach settlement

Posted at 6:25 PM, Jul 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-22 20:25:56-04

HELENA – Montana Attorney General Tim Fox and 49 other state attorneys general announced a $600 million settlement Monday with credit monitoring giant Equifax.

The settlement concerned the 2017 data breach that affected147 million Americans.

In Montana, an estimated 380,000 people’s data was compromised.

“Today’s announcement marks the largest data breach settlement ever in our country,” said Fox in a statement. “I encourage Montana consumers whose personal information was exposed by Equifax to request free credit monitoring and reimbursement for money and time they’ve personally spent addressing the data breach. My consumer protection team stands ready to assist Montanans who may have questions about the breach and how to recover from or prevent identity theft.”

As part of the settlement, affected individuals will receive free credit monitoring 10 years, identity theft restoration services and the company must also help victims dispute inaccurate information that is the result of the identity theft.

Equifax must also strengthen its data security.

Money from the settlement can also go to victims to reimburse them for time and money previously spent trying to avoid or recover from identity theft.

“Be aware that there are hackers out there, like in this case, that access a lot of very valuable, personal information, that if it’s out there then people can take that information and they can steal your identity and go get loans in your name. And they can, you know, really ruin your finances, so it’s extremely important that we protect that data,” Mark Mattioli, chief of the Office of Consumer Protection, told MTN News.

Out of the $600 million settlement, $170 million is going to the states. Of that amount, $1 million is going to Montana.

“We want to make you aware that the Equifax data breach settlement administrator has made a website available for people to file claims online,” said Anastasia Burton, deputy communications director for Montana Department of Justice, told MTN

To file a claim, click here.

Eligible consumers should call 1-833-759-2982 toll-free to request a paper claim form, or visit the FTC’s website for more information about filing a claim.

Montanans who have unanswered questions after calling this number may contact Fox’s Office of Consumer Protection at 1-(800) 481-6896 or (406) 444-4500.

Story by Christine Sullivan, MTN News