FTC warns of scammers using fake sites for Equifax settlement claims

FTC warns of scammers using fake sites for Equifax settlement claims
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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) this week warned of fraudulent websites purporting to allow consumers to file a claim as part of Equifax’s $575 million settlement.

“Beware of fake websites claiming to be the Equifax settlement claims website,” the agency tweeted Monday. “To be sure you are going to the legitimate site, you can access it from the @ftc’s Equifax page.”

 

Michael Atleson, acting assistant director for the FTC’s division of consumer and business education, expanded on the warning in a blog post on Monday.

“Wouldn’t you know it? People may have already started putting up fake websites meant to look like the official Equifax settlement claims website,” Atleson wrote, also advising consumers to make sure they followed a link from FTC.gov to make their claims.

Atleson also noted that real claims sites would not require consumers to pay to file a claim, “and anyone who calls and tries to get you to file a claim is almost certainly a scammer.”

Since announcing the settlement, Equifax has said it will give those affected up to $125 and identity restoration services.

The settlement, announced July 22, requires the company to pay $300 million to a compensation fund for victims of a 2017 data breach and potentially $125 million more if the fund runs out.

“Equifax knew that there were serious flaws in their system, but still they did not take appropriate steps to fix it,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) said in a statement. “They left their system vulnerable to the biggest data breach in history and the financial futures of millions of Americans were put at risk—and it was entirely preventable.”