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Equifax data breach: Pick free credit monitoring

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Just last week, the FTC and others reached a settlement with Equifax about its September 2017 data breach that exposed personal information of 147 million people. We’ve told you to go to ftc.gov/Equifax, where you can find out if your information was exposed and learn how to file a claim with the company in charge of the claims process.

The public response to the settlement has been overwhelming, and we’re delighted that millions of people have visited ftc.gov/Equifax and gone on to the settlement website’s claims form.

But there’s a downside to this unexpected number of claims. First, though, the good: all 147 million people can ask for and get free credit monitoring. There’s also the option for people who certify that they already have credit monitoring to claim up to $125 instead. But the pot of money that pays for that part of the settlement is $31 million. A large number of claims for cash instead of credit monitoring means only one thing: each person who takes the money option will wind up only getting a small amount of money. Nowhere near the $125 they could have gotten if there hadn’t been such an enormous number of claims filed.

So, if you haven’t submitted your claim yet, think about opting for the free credit monitoring instead. Frankly, the free credit monitoring is worth a lot more – the market value would be hundreds of dollars a year. And this monitoring service is probably stronger and more helpful than any you may have already, because it monitors your credit report at all three nationwide credit reporting agencies, and it comes with up to $1 million in identity theft insurance and individualized identity restoration services.

For those who have already submitted claims for this cash payment, look for an email from the settlement administrator. They’ll be asking you for the name of the credit monitoring service you already have. Or, if you want to change your mind, you’ll have a chance to switch to the free credit monitoring. The email from the settlement administrator will tell you what to do next, in either case. And the settlement administrator has said that the claims website will soon be updated with that information, too.

Please also note that there is still money available under the settlement to reimburse people for what they paid out of their pocket to recover from the breach. Say you had to pay for your own credit freezes after the breach, or you hired someone to help you deal with identity theft. The settlement has a larger pool of money for just those people. If you’re one of them, use your documents to submit your claim.

This blog post was clarified on August 1, 2019.

Comments

I completely agree! It's ridiculous that these settlements amount to nothing more than a slap on the wrist to these companies, yet they put us consumers at risk for potentially the rest of our lives! There should be no "settlements". This continual behavior needs to be dealt with by mandatory penalties (paid to the consumers) that "hurt" these businesses.

This is my situation two. I already have three years of credit monitoring from another hack and I bought LifeLock earlier this year just to be extra safe. I signed up for the cash to help pay for LifeLock that I already purchased. If they don't want so many people taking the cash then they should make the credit monitoring redeemable at a later date. Such as, sign up for the monitoring now but you can wait a year, three years, or whenever your current monitoring expires before signing up for this one.
And the other irritating thing is that Experian and all these other companies use these credit monitoring programs to try to upsell to you their other paid services.

If you paid money - to buy credit monitoring for example -  and spent time dealing with the breach, you can file a claim for a cash payment. Go to www.FTC.gov/Equifax to learn more.

Now Capital One.. to add to the list you mentioned.. Wonder how many more big companies are going to pop up now!!

And now we get to add "Capital One" to the list. And it appears they're supposed to have "credit monitoring" as well.

EXACTLY!! My information has been breached at so many companies I practically have free monitoring for life! Having 3 or more companies monitoring my information does nothing for me. Someone should really be paying--A LOT!

I have credit monitoring through my financial agencies. It is free. Tell me how I am going to benefit from an additional credit monitoring. I have had my information exposed multiple times through several companies. Each of them offer the free monitoring. How about this, free monitoring for life for all? After all it is our information. Why should we have to pay to protect it?

How can you trust this place at all

What company(s) will provide the credit monitoring service?

The claim site, www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com says this:

Settlement Class Members may submit a claim to enroll in at least four (4) years of three-bureau credit monitoring services, provided by Experian, at no cost.

That is in Question #8 of the Frequently Asked Questions.

Is there a benefit to opt for the monitoring if you already have free monitoring? Also is there an option to opt out of monitoring from equifax? It seems to me that most consumers would want as little to do with Equifax as possible after the data breach and the now-abysmal payout.

Equifax will pay $300 million into a fund that will pay Experian to provide the first four years of three-bureau credit monitoring services. If you request four years of Experian monitoring, you can also request six additional years of one-bureau monitoring by Equifax. There are other benefits for people whose information was exposed in the breach. Learn more at www.FTC.gov/Equifax and www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com.

So Experian is providing it?

Criminals ruin our life and all of our credit cards ,credit score etc and u r offering free credit monitoring ? LOL what a joke
I want my life back with my excellent credit score just like the way it was before this .We are still dealing to clear all

If I opt for credit monitoring and suffer identity theft after the monitoring period provided under the settlement, do I forfeit my right to sue Equifax?

You offer free credit monitoring but you don’t provide a way of signing up for it. This is adding insult to injury.

This blog says to go to www.FTC.gov/Equifax to find out if your information was exposed and learn how to file a claim. When you go there:

  • Click on the blue button at the top of the page that says File a Claim.
  • You will be directed to www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com.
  • Choose how you want to submit a claim: online, by downloading a paper form, or by having a paper form mailed to you.

yes i was thinking the same. i also think we should be given the option to freeze our credit at no cost!

You can freeze your credit at no cost. This FTC article about credit freezes tells how to place them, how to lift them, and gives contact information for the three major credit reporting agencies.

I froze my accts a while ago, so I opted for the $125 and filled out a form.

A few months ago, a strange thing happened. I am an older person so when one of my CDs matures, rather than letting it roll over, I take it to another bank to get a better rate.

This last bank, Sun Bank, wanted to run a credit check on me before they would let me invest in a CD. WHAT! I was giving them MY money, not borrowing money from them!

I had to actually un-freeze my credit so Sun Bank could check my credit before they would issue me a CD. What was that all about? Is this the New Normal? Someone please explain.

Thank you.

I had to pay to freeze my credit after equifax’s breach...has something changed and now it’s free?

Go to www.FTC.gov/Equifax to check if you were affected by the Equifax breach and learn about filing a claim.

If your information was exposed in the Equifax breach, you can file a claim for expenses you paid because of the breach. You can file a claim for paying for things like the cost of credit monitoring, freezing & unfreezing your credit reports, or losses from unauthorized charges to your accounts.

I froze my credit for free after my identity was stolen due to the Equifax breach. It is free now as of a law that passed last September due to this breach.

Yes. A federal law was passed since then that makes all credit freezes and unfreezes free.

Yes, they do. It's one of the options when you go to the Experian breach site. I chose the credit monitoring.

Yes they do. I’ve already signed up for the 4 years by all three credit bureaus and another 6 years through EQUIFAX afterwards for a total of 10 years. You just can’t do it from this “blog”. A blog is just informational only. Not intended for official business. Go to the FTC government site and you can do it as I did.

I clicked on the link to ftc.gov/equifax (in the blue letters in this blog) and filled out the form to see if my info was impacted by the data breach. It was, and a page came up offering the free credit monitoring or the cash payment. It was actually quick and easy to understand and get signed up.

I chose the credit monitoring as it is guaranteed, as opposed to the pay out which may not be. And if you really think about it, the value of the 3 credit bureau monitoring is worth more than $125.

Ummm, no it's not, it's offered for free by lots of banks and credit card companies. Are you an experian employee? It's easy and cheap for them to provide credit monitoring. That's why they agreed to do it. To convince these companies, it needs to hit their bank accounts with real money payments to real people.

How soon you get your 125

This is unacceptable. The court and Equifax knew there were 147 million claimants. Why offer $125 per claim and set aside only $31 million? Did someone forget to do the math?

I was just thinking the EXACT SAME THING! How does Equifax figure this is ok to state you didn’t set aside enough monies to compensate 147 million people that were impacted by this breach? This is not acceptable at all.

I agree. I think they should HAVE to give free monitoring, plus if your info is used by someone besides you they should HAVE TO PAY FOR IT ALL, plus make SURE your credit IS NOT harmed!!

Credit monitoring is a joke. I have at least 4 entities providing me with credit monitoring because of security breaches. You only learn about the bogus account after something has happened. Next time, get enough money from the offending agent to fairly compensate people, monetarily, for the time spent freezing accounts, etc. and worrying about what was going to happen next. Clearly, $31 million was not a satisfactory penalty for a security breach at a Credit Reporting Agency, who waited months to let us know the breach had even occurred.

The FTC reached a settlement with Equifax for 425 million...........but knew there were over 147 million affected consumers. now I get an Email stating that we will get almost nothing....does not take a frikin math genius to figure that out. Why not try a little harder to get some real resolution to this matter, like the 5 billion that Facebook settled for? Really disappointed that the FTC that is supposed to be a govt. watchdog has rolled over more like a 3 week old kitten.

Go to www.FTC.gov/Equifax to read about the benefits you may claim, including:

  • up to 10 years of credit monitoring
  • identity theft insurance
  • cash payments for expenses you paid as a result of the breach, capped at $20,000 per person
  • free identity restoration services for at least seven years
  • starting in 2020, six free credit reports per year for 7 years from the Equifax website. Those are in addition to the one free Equifax, Experian and TransUnion reports you can get at AnnualCreditReport.com.

I paid for extra credit monitoring and credit freeze services when I learned my info was affected by the Equifax breach. If I choose to document the expenses I incurred because of the breach, can I still opt for the 10 years of credit monitoring and ID theft insurance?

Please read the FAQ on the settlement website www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com. FAQ#8 Credit Monitoring Services says " You may make a claim for both reimbursement for Out-of-Pocket Losses and/or Time Spent, and Credit Monitoring Services." and tells the deadline to do that: The deadline for all claims for Credit Monitoring Services is 01/22/2020.

FAQ #7 has details about payment for time spent and out of pocket expenses.

Really? How could anyone rely on Equifax for credit monitoring?

Under the settlement, you can request four years of free credit monitoring from Experian.

Equifax will pay $300 million into a fund that will pay Experian to provide the first four years of three-bureau credit monitoring services. If you request four years of Experian monitoring, you can also request six additional years of one-bureau monitoring by Equifax. There are other benefits for people whose information was exposed in the breach. Learn more at www.FTC.gov/Equifax and www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com.

Email address doesn't work for me.

The correct email is Info@EquifaxBreachSettlement.com

I already have free credit monitoring thanks to the OPM breach. This fine is nowhere near enough restitution.

Where do you sign up for the free credit monitoring?

1. Before you ask for free credit monitoring, go to www.FTC.gov/Equifax.  Use the look-up tool to find out if your information was exposed.

2. If your information was exposed, go back to www.FTC.gov/Equifax.

  • Click on the blue button at the top that says File a Claim.
  • You will be directed to www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com.
  • Choose how you want to submit a claim: online, by downloading a paper form, or by having a paper form mailed to you.

I'm concerned Equifax may have lost my data without Equifax being aware of it. What are my rights in that case?

This settlement is a joke. The only thing your doing is guaranteeing millions of customers to Equifax. The company that screwed everyone over in the first place. How does this help the people that have already lost things that are irreplaceable? Such as being denied a first home owners loan or losing their house because the Irs held their income tax because they couldn't verify their identity? What are you gona do for us??

Go to www.FTC.gov/Equifax to learn about the benefits that are available. You can file a claim for cash payments, capped at $20,000 per person, for:

  • expenses you paid as a result of the breach, like losses from unauthorized charges to your accounts, costs to freeze or unfreeze your credit report; see details at www.FTC.gov/Equifax;
  • the time you spent dealing with the breach; you can be compensated $25 per hour for up to 20 hours; see details at www.FTC.gov/Equifax;
  • the cost of Equifax credit monitoring and related services you had between September 7, 2016, and September 7, 2017, capped at 25 percent of the total amount you paid.

So you are going to monitor all three (3) credit bureaus each month and email these to me? Do you know my email address?

This is absolutely ridiculous to only fine Equifax $31MM for compensatory damage payments to 176MM people. No one wants or trusts their credit monitoring. We want to be made whole in an amount reflective of the worst data breach in history.

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