Equifax is reportedly nearing a $700 million deal to settle state and federal investigations related to a data breach two years ago that exposed personal information belonging to more than 145 million people.
According to The Wall Street Journal, under the agreement, the credit-reporting agency would pay close to $700 million to settle with the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and most state attorneys general. The agreement would also resolve a nationwide consumer class-action lawsuit, according to the Journal, which cited sources familiar with the matter.
The deal could be announced as early as Monday.
At the beginning of September almost two years ago, Equifax officially alerted the public about the mass cybersecurity intrusion, almost two months after it discovered it. The breach — one of the most severe in U.S. history — included sensitive information, such as Social Security and driver’s license numbers and prompted swift condemnation from bipartisan lawmakers, agencies and consumers.
The thieves were able to access a company portal after Equifax failed to patch a security flaw that it knew about.
Following the breach, the Atlanta-based company’s stock tumbled and its CEO, Richard Smith, was ousted.
Last year, Congress passed legislation barring credit-reporting agencies from charging fees to freeze and unfreeze credit reports. Some lawmakers, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a 2020 presidential hopeful, have called for more robust FTC enforcement.