(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — Attorney General Dave Yost is encouraging Ohioans affected by Equifax’s massive 2017 data breach to sign up for free credit monitoring before the offer expires next week.
Consumers can check their eligibility on EquifaxBreachSettlement.com and file claims on the website by Wednesday, Jan. 22, to receive up to 10 years of free credit monitoring.
“These credit monitoring services will go a long way in shielding data breach victims from the perils of identity theft,” Yost said. “This sort of protection normally costs hundreds of dollars per year, but there’s still time to get it for free.”
The services are available at no cost to victims of the breach as part of a $600 million settlement with Equifax obtained last year by a 47-state coalition of attorneys general, led in part by Ohio.
On Sept. 7, 2017, Equifax, one of the largest consumer reporting agencies in the world, announced a breach affecting nearly half of the U.S. population. Breached information included Social Security numbers, names, dates of birth, addresses, and, in some cases, credit card and driver’s license numbers.
An investigation by the coalition of states found the breach occurred because Equifax failed to implement an adequate security program to protect consumers’ sensitive personal information. Despite knowing about a critical vulnerability in its software, Equifax failed to patch its systems, allowing outside actors to access the personal information.
Additionally, Equifax failed to replace software that monitored the breached network for suspicious activity. As a result, the attack went unnoticed for 76 days. The settlement requires Equifax to strengthen its security practices to better protect consumer information moving forward.