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Equifax Breach: Are You Eligible For A $20,000 Pay Out?

In 2017, credit monitoring firm Equifax exposed data belonging to 147 million people. Now, those affected could be eligible for a pay out.

In 2017, credit monitoring firm Equifax exposed data belonging to 147 million people. Now, those affected could be eligible for a pay out.

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Equifax suffered a huge breach in 2017 that exposed information including the social security numbers of 147 million people. Earlier this week, it emerged that the credit monitoring firm will be fined $700 million–and $425 million of that is earmarked for people affected by the breach, according to a site set up for those impacted.

Equifax breach compensation: How to claim

Potentially, millions of people could receive some kind of pay out as a result of this 2017 breach. So, how do you find out if you are eligible? Equifax has  set up a simple tool you can use to check.

There are two types of claim: Equifax is offering up to 10 years of free credit monitoring, or if you’d prefer, $125. The other option is to apply for a cash payment, which is capped at a hefty $20,000 per person. This covers serious repercussions from the breach such as losses from unauthorized charges to your accounts; the cost of freezing or unfreezing your credit report; or fees to accountants and attorneys.

Meanwhile, people could also be compensated for the time they spent dealing with the breach, at $25 per hour for up to 20 hours.

The process for filing a claim has already begun and you have until January 22 2020 to apply. The actual pay outs will happen January 23 2020 “at the earliest,” according to the FTC. You can also sign up to get email updates about the settlement.

Equifax: What the future holds

The Equifax breach was the result of poor cybersecurity practices and could have been prevented–it happened because the firm failed to patch a web server. And in May the firm suffered another major blow after Moody’s slashed the rating outlook on the firm, according to CNBC. It was the first time cybersecurity problems have been cited as the reason for a downgrade.

So things aren’t looking great for Equifax as it moves to repair the damage caused by the massive 2017 breach two years later. “I think Equifax is so damaged as a brand: The failures to protect sensitive data are so widely known, they have to figure out a path towards redemption,” says Ian Thornton-Trump, security head at AmTrust Europe.

On the outside, the firm remains positive in its outlook. “This comprehensive settlement is a positive step for U.S. consumers and Equifax as we move forward from the 2017 cybersecurity incident and focus on our transformation investments in technology and security as a leading data, analytics, and technology company,” said Equifax CEO Mark W. Begor in a statement.

Moving forward is certainly something Equifax will be keen to do. Perhaps now it is compensating affected customers, people will start to trust Equifax once again. But at the same time, because of the information impacted combined with massive scale, this hack will still go down as one of the worst in history.

I’m a freelance cybersecurity journalist with over a decade’s experience reporting on the issues impacting users, businesses and the public sector. My interests within cybersecurity include critical national infrastructure, cyber warfare, application security and data misuse. I’m a keen advocate for women in security and strive to raise awareness of the gender imbalance through my writing.

Source: Equifax Breach: Are You Eligible For A $20,000 Pay Out?

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Is There a Credit Card Rewards Tax? – Gabriel Wood

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When you trade in your credit card rewards for a heap of cash back or travel credit, your moment of elation may be interrupted by a sobering thought: are these rewards taxed? After all, the IRS taxes investment income, cryptocurrency and casino winnings, so it would make sense for there to be some kind of credit card rewards tax. Unfortunately, it’s an issue that takes some digging to get to the bottom of, and even then, the answer isn’t completely clear-cut. To learn about the law surrounding taxes on credit card rewards and find out if you need to fret about giving the IRS its due, keep reading.

The law isn’t clear

This would be an easy question to answer if there was a law that definitively stated whether credit card rewards are subject to taxation, but there currently isn’t one. The IRS may push for such a law soon, since credit card intro bonuses are very generous right now and it may want to start regulating them, but that’s just speculation. Instead, all the legal precedent we have to go on is one IRS announcement and one tax court decision. The announcement, made in 2002, says that frequent flyer miles and other promotional items that you receive as the result of business travel, but that you use for personal purposes, do not produce a tax liability. However, it also says that exception doesn’t apply to travel or other promotional benefits that you convert into cash, or to compensation that is paid in the form of promotional benefits. Since many credit card issuers let you trade their rewards for statement credit or cash, lawyers could interpret that to mean there is a credit card rewards tax.

The court’s decision in the 2014 case Shankar and Trivedi v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue was similar. In the case, couple Parimal Shankar and Malti Trivedi failed to report to the IRS airline tickets that they had purchased with rewards points gained from opening a bank account. The couple argued that the dollar value of the rewards points shouldn’t count as income, since they received it as part of a promotional offer, but the U.S. Tax Court ruled against them.

Tax experts lean toward no

Even though both of the precedents mentioned above make your chances of avoiding a rewards tax look grim, some experts say credit card rewards are largely tax-free. Because you have to spend money in order to earn credit card rewards, whether you’re receiving cash back on your purchases or meeting the spending requirement for an intro bonus, apparently the IRS views those rewards as more of a rebate or discount rather than taxable income. Additionally, even if the IRS taxed credit card rewards, you wouldn’t have to worry about reporting that money unless it met or exceeded $600 per credit card issuer. That’s because $600 is the minimum amount of money you can report on a 1099 form for miscellaneous income, so any amount below that is safe from taxation.

While your credit card rewards are probably safe, the same can’t be said for other financial rewards. In 2012, Citi (a NextAdvisor advertiser) shocked a lot of customers by mailing 1099 forms out to anyone who took advantage of a promotional offer that gave new banking customers a large amount of frequent flyer miles. Citi determined the value of the miles given exceeded $600 per customer, so everyone who received the miles had to pay taxes on them. What’s the takeaway from this? If a reward (including a credit card reward) only requires you to sign up for an account and doesn’t entail spending any money, the IRS is much more likely to view that as a gift, payment or prize and tax it if it’s worth at least $600.

In conclusion, if you’re crazy about earning credit card cash back or points, you shouldn’t fear running into a rewards tax. If for some reason you do receive a 1099 form in the mail from your credit card issuer, though, make sure you factor it into your taxes to stay square with the IRS. For more answers to any credit card question you can think of and then some, check out our credit cards blog.

 

 

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6 Cards Currently Offering Welcome Bonuses of 100,000 Points or More – Ethan Steinberg

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This business card is offering a staggering 200,000 miles with its current sign-up bonus — but you’ll need to do some serious spending to earn that full amount. You’ll earn 50,000 miles when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months, and another 150,000 miles after you spend $50,000 in the first 6 months. Clearly, this offer is tailored to established businesses with significant expenses that can easily meet that $50,000 spending requirement. But if your company’s able to meet both tiers of spending requirements, you’ll walk away with a stellar 300,000 miles, factoring in the additional 100,000 miles you’ll earn by spending $50,000, since the Spark Miles card earns 2x on all purchases…………….

 

 

 

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Your Whole Wallet In One Card – Unbox Therapy

The latest and most recently updated version of Mobile app and OTA firmware is now released. This update will protect our customers’ high-level security information so that a safer and more secure use of our Product can be ensured……

 

 

 

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Brex Has Amassed A Valuation Of $1.1 Billion In Under Two Years – Donna Fuscaldo

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Brex, the provider of a credit card for startups, has raised $125 million in venture funding, propelling the company into unicorn status with a $1.1 billion valuation. Earlier Friday the San Francisco-based startup announced it closed a $125 million Series C round of funding with Greenoaks Capital and DST Global leading the investment round. This comes on the heels of $50 million raised in June. Since changing course a little more than a year-and-a-half ago, Brex has been able to amass a valuation of more than $1 billion…….

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/donnafuscaldo/2018/10/05/brex-has-amassed-a-valuation-of-1-1-billion-in-under-two-years/#47f0025b65a1

 

 

 

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