Nearly two years after data broker ChoicePoint revealed that it had sold identity information to criminals, the Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday announced it had mailed claim forms to over 1,400 victims who can now file for refunds on money they spent setting things straight.
Early in 2005, ChoicePoint reported it had handed over consumers' names, addresses, Social Security numbers, and credit reports to fraudsters working out of Los Angeles County. In February 2005, it sent 145,000 notifications to residents in 50 states whose personal information may have been sold to the identity thieves in the fall of 2004.
After an FTC investigation, the commission and ChoicePoint agreed to a settlement in January 2006 that, among other things, required the company to pay up to $5 million to reimburse consumers.
According to the FTC, the reparation forms must be postmarked by Feb. 4 to be considered. "The amount applicants receive will depend on a number of factors, including the total number and amount of claims that the agency receives," the FTC said in a statement.
Claim forms have also been posted on the FTC's Web site in both English and Spanish, and a toll-free telephone number and e-mail address have been set up to take questions from affected consumers.