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**Consumer Alert** CFO Jimmy Patronis: Equifax to Pay Up to $700 million in Data Breach Settlement

7/23/2019

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Contact: Office of Communications, communications@myfloridacfo.com, (850) 413-2842
 
**Consumer Alert**
CFO Jimmy Patronis: Equifax to Pay Up to $700 million in Data Breach Settlement

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis notified Floridians today of a recent settlement agreement related to a 2017 Equifax data breach affecting approximately 147 million people. Pending court approval, Equifax agreed to pay at least $575 million, and potentially up to $700 million, as part of a global settlement. The proposed agreement also includes funding to compensate consumers for credit or identity monitoring services, other out-of-pocket expenses, and provide all U.S. consumers with six free credit reports each year for seven years.
 
CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “Protecting your personal and financial data is one of my top priorities. Florida leads the country in fraud, and data breaches put all Floridians at risk for identity theft and scams. It's absolutely imperative that companies like Equifax are held accountable, and we continue to look for innovative ways to better secure financial information. Consumers should be aware of data breaches and take critical steps to protect their money and identity.”
 
5 Tips to Protect Your Personal Financial Information:
 
1. Check your credit card activity often. Reviewing your recent account activity is fundamental to credit card safety. Most companies allow you to review transactions online or by phone. If your credit card company offers email or text alerts regarding unusual activity, sign up now.
 
2. Consider a credit freeze. If you believe you've been the victim of identity theft, consider placing a free credit freeze on your credit file with each of the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) to further prevent unauthorized credit report activity.
 
3. Monitor credit reports. Constantly check your credit report for any accounts that scam artists may have opened in your name. Credit reports are available free of charge, from each of the three national credit reporting agencies every 12 months. Visit www.AnnualCreditReport.com to pull your reports today.
 
4. Be extra careful about emails and attachments. Avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from suspicious emails that claim to be updates from any company connected to a data breach.
 
5. File your taxes promptly. While thieves may use stolen information to create fraudulent bank accounts, they may also file fraudulent tax returns. File your taxes as soon as you have the tax information you need and respond promptly to letters sent to you by the IRS. Note that the IRS will never communicate with you via email, so watch out for this type of fraud and don’t open emails purporting to be from the IRS.
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About CFO Jimmy Patronis 
Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis is a statewide elected official and a member of Florida’s Cabinet who oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Patronis works each day to fight insurance fraud, support Florida’s firefighters, and ensure the state’s finances are stable to support economic growth in the state. Follow the activities of the Department on Facebook (FLDFS) and Twitter (@FLDFS).