'You have to file a claim:' Millions eligible for credit monitoring following Equifax data breach

MILWAUKEE — As part of a major settlement, people affected by the Equifax data breach are now entitled to a few things. The breach in 2017 impacted 147 million people. If you are among that group, you need to file a claim to get what is rightfully yours.

Anyone affected by the breach is eligible for 10 years of free credit monitoring. If you were a minor in May 2017, you're eligible for 18 years of free credit monitoring.

"I think the settlement is a great opportunity for consumers to monitor their credit," said Nathan DeLadurantey, a consumer attorney. "That's the key to prevent something bad from happening -- is that regular monitoring."

Some victims could get refunds up to $20,000 for any expenses or financial losses. For the time spent dealing with the breach, you can get $25 per hour for up to 20 hours.

"You have to file a claim," DeLadurantey said. "You don't file that claim by Jan. 22, 2020, you're gonna miss out on that."

First, you need to go to Equifax's online tool to find out if you qualify for the settlement. It will ask for your name and last six digits of your Social Security number.

If you're eligible, you'll need file that claim online. The claim is easy to fill out. You'll provide basic information and follow the steps on the claim form.

"The vast bulk of people impacted by this will not submit a claim," DeLadurantey said.

If you're not affected by the data breach, there's still some important news from Equifax. Starting in 2020, everyone in the United States will get six free credit reports per year from Equifax's website, for seven years.

"The key is, check in often, and look for things that shouldn't be there," DeLadurantey advised.

You may have heard that you were eligible for $125 instead of free credit monitoring, but that is no longer the case. Due to overwhelming response to the settlement, refunds will be much less than that.