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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

Frequently Asked Question #19 on the settlement website www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com says if you make a valid claim for credit monitoring services, the Settlement Administrator will send you information about how to activate your credit monitoring after the settlement is final. The settlement will be final on January 23, 2020 at the earliest.

The Settlement Administrator will provide you with an activation code and link to the Experian website where you can enroll and activate your credit monitoring services.

Thanks very much.

they ask for part of a person's SS# in order to see if affected, I am not comfortable with entering any part of the SS#

These people lost data for 147 million people and their punishment was a piddling 31 million? This is too absurd for farce

The press release explains that: Equifax to Pay $575 Million as Part of Settlement with FTC, CFPB, and States Related to 2017 Data Breach.

The FAQ on the settlement page (www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com) explain that Equifax will pay at least $380,500,000 into a Consumer Restitution Fund that will pay people for out-of-pocket losses, buy credit monitoring services and pay for other reimbursement.

The lawyers negotiating the settlement should settle for getting free credit monitoring instead of cash for their labor and time.

I think EVERYONE should have gotten a LIFETIME of credit monitoring, simply because hackers are going to have our data for a VERY long time.

How can the FTC make the claim that " 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"? This certainly seems like a deceptive and misleading claim, unsupported by evidence.

is the free credit monitoring by Experian the Experian IdentityWorks℠ Premium? or the Experian IdentityWorks℠ Plus?

The settlement website (www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com) Frequently Asked Question #8 has information about the credit monitoring service.

Offering temporary protection is NOT the solution. Everyone affected by this should have been offered a LIFETIME of protection. It is shameful that there's now backtracking on the reimbursement that was originally offered.

If the company can't offer a lifetime of protection for those affected, then it should be shut down. Your info might not be used now, or five years from now, but it can be used fifteen years from now, and unless you're paying out of your own pocket to stay protected from someone else's mistake, then you're still stuck cleaning up their mess.

You state: "he fund will also compensate consumers who bought credit or identity monitoring services from Equifax and paid other out-of-pocket expenses as a result of the 2017 data breach." I certainly DID NOT TRUST EQUIFAX to do credit monitoring (and it was free anyway) so I paid to have Experian do credit monitoring (via USAA & Costco programs). So does that mean I am getting stiffed again and you will ONLY reimburse expenses paid TO EQUIFAX? Count me among the unhappy victims.

Go to www.FTC.gov/Equifax to read about the benefits available to people who were affected by the breach.

Due to the fact that not only my information was compromised, because of Equifax error I had to file bankruptcy because of severe identity theft and fraud. How do I get reimbursed for that. And it totally ruined my credit score.

Go to www.FTC.gov/Equifax to learn about benefits an affected person may claim. You may be able to file a claim for cash payments, capped at $20,000 per person, for expenses you paid as a result of the breach and for time spent dealing with the breach.

Equifax should be liquidated so $147 million injured could receive all money possible. Inexcusable, incompetence, lies and cover-ups. Consumers should be allowed to not have their credit info sent to any or all 3 bureaus.

Sure, except I ALREADY have credit monitoring from several other breaches.

Already have credit monitoring thanks to another breach - by our gov. $125 seems like a minor offering and should be honored for all who ask for it. SO, I will forego and let someone else w/o monitoring or $$ get a little something.

If only $31 million was set aside for cash payments, where is the other money going? And why isn't it going to those who file claims?

The FTC press release explains that as part of the proposed settlement, Equifax will pay $300 million to a fund that will provide affected consumers with credit monitoring services.

The fund will also compensate consumers who bought credit or identity monitoring services from Equifax and paid other out-of-pocket expenses as a result of the 2017 data breach. Equifax will add up to $125 million to the fund if the initial payment is not enough to compensate consumers for their losses.

The company also has agreed to pay $175 million to 48 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, as well as $100 million to the CFPB in civil penalties.

It seems to me as though you let Equifax off easily on this problem. Why should I opt for free credit monitoring when I already monitor my credit for free? The set aside for the cash settlement was too small. It seems to me that once again, big business is given more consideration than the average consumers impacted by this breach.

I picked money because I already have multiple free credit monitoring from multiple other data breaches.

Equifax should be forced to have an opt out option for data. They have proven they can't be trusted with my data and I never gave them permission to manage it to begin with. FTC do your job and actually hold these credit monitoring companies accountable.

Can I claim the annual credit card fee that I have been paying to Capital One solely for the credit monitoring service? There are other cards that have same benefits but I chose the annual fee card for the monitoring. Will this be a valid claim?
And lo and behold what did Capital One do...they also lost my info.
...It is a joke if we will be getting a pittance as settlement in the end. Equifax is strong as ever with a $17billion market cap even after such an infraction.

Go to www.FTC.gov/Equifax to read about the benefits you could claim if your information was exposed in the Equifax breach.

I am disappointed in the FTC. Hard to believe that the number of people filing claims is "unexpected" when 147 million people had their data breached. They should have done a better job either negotiating a settlement or explaining the details of the supposed "$125" settlement!

I accepted the free credit monitoring. Now what do I do?
Is there a special website to visit to check on the monitoring ?

Frequently Asked Question #19 on the settlement website www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com says if you make a valid claim for credit monitoring services, the Settlement Administrator will send you information about how to activate your credit monitoring after the settlement is final. The Settlement Administrator will send you an activation code and link to the Experian website where you can enroll and activate your credit monitoring services. The settlement will be final on January 23, 2020 at the earliest.

So, I see lots of people complaining they will not get their $125. If you were hacked (I was) and did not incur any losses ($) then anything you get is a plus. People who did incur losses ($) are able to submit a claim for that amount, over and above the original $125 offer. This is not a cash grab for those you had no loss, rather reasonable reimbursement via a one-time payout (amount set by the number of people who file) *or* credit monitoring. If you read the settlement (I did) then you would have known. I choose to take the credit monitoring over the cash-grab.

I asked for free credit monitoring. Now what do I do???? I have not received any email explaining the next step. I did receive a Claim Number...Thanks

Frequently Asked Question #19 on the settlement website www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com says if you make a valid claim for credit monitoring services, the Settlement Administrator will send you information about how to activate your credit monitoring after the settlement is final. The settlement will be final on January 23, 2020 at the earliest.

The Settlement Administrator will provide you with an activation code and link to the Experian website where you can enroll and activate your credit monitoring services.

When does free credit monitoring start? If I am paying for credit monitoring when can I cancel paid monitoring for free monitoring?

Frequently Asked Question # 19 on the settlement website www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com says if you make a valid claim for credit monitoring services, the Settlement Administrator will send you information on how to activate your credit monitoring once the settlement is final. The settlement will be final on January 23, 2020 at the earliest.

Free credit monitoring for life is the only reasonable alternative settlement. I don’t plan on changing my name, birth date or social security number for the rest of my life! Why on earth should Equifax be allowed to stop “being held responsible” for their error?

You know that most of the the emails sent requesting credit monitoring information will never clear spam filters and that will result in nonpayment.

I already have free credit monitoring from another big data breach. I want money.

Website just spins when I try to input a claim.

I have signed up for the four years of three bureau credit monitoring through Experian. How do I get the additional 6 years of one bureau credit monitoring through Equifax? TIA

The FAQ # 8 (frequently asked question) on the settlement website (www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com) says if you make a valid claim and enroll in credit monitoring services, you can choose to enroll in up to six years of one-bureau credit monitoring services provided by Equifax that would start after the three-bureau credit monitoring services end. You have to choose the one-bureau service when you submit your claim for credit monitoring services, and you will be sent instructions for how to enroll in the one-bureau monitoring before your three-bureau credit monitoring services end.

I signed up for the free credit monitoring. When will monitoring start, and how will I know it had begun? I didn't not receive a confirmation email upon singing up, was I supposed to?

The settlement website (www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com) says that if you make a valid claim for credit monitoring services, the Settlement Administrator will tell you how to activate your credit monitoring after the settlement is final. The settlement will be final on January 23, 2020 at the earliest.

The Settlement Administrator will give you an activation code and a link to the Experian website where you can enroll and activate your credit monitoring services.

The FTC blew it in my opinion. Why would a consumer want to accept Equifax monitoring in lieu of a $125 payment. Equifax got us here in the first place. Why trust them now. Offering free credit monitoring has no value to most consumers. I would gladly pay $125 NOT to have had my data compromised. The least the FTC could do is make sure there is enough money in that pot to pay the millions who are entitled to participate in it. The FTC appears to have dropped the ball on this one! To bad for consumers!

Allowing Equifax to offer free credit monitoring instead of a cash payment is totally ineffective. I currently have 2 credit monitoring services resulting from 3 previous credit breaches. It is easy and relatively inexpensive to provide a credit monitoring service rather than a cash payment. Until there are adequate consequences for not protecting our data, these companies will learn nothing.

So the Equifax judgement went from 700 million to 35 million? What shady deal was made here? Sounds like the heads of the FTC and Equifax needs to be gone. We need an investigation into what is going on. A shady deal indeed with Americans getting screwed again. We demand answers.

Read the FTC press release for details about the proposed settlement agreement, including:

  • Equifax Inc. agreed to pay at least $575 million, and potentially up to $700 million, as part of a global settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and 50 U.S. states and territories
  • As part of the proposed settlement, Equifax will pay $300 million to a fund that will provide affected consumers with credit monitoring services. The fund will also compensate consumers who bought credit or identity monitoring services from Equifax and paid other out-of-pocket expenses as a result of the 2017 data breach. Equifax will add up to $125 million to the fund if the initial payment is not enough to compensate consumers for their losses
  • The company also has agreed to pay $175 million to 48 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, as well as $100 million to the CFPB in civil penalties.

Hi, I signed up for the credit monitoring already along with a request to be reimbursed for two hours of signing up for credit freezes. I'm confused as to whether the payment for the two hours will be done instead of the credit monitoring - did I cancel out the credit monitoring by asking for the two hours? It's not my intention. Can someone clarify this, please? Thanks!

FAQ #8 on the settlement website (www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com) says: You may make a claim for both reimbursement for Out-of-Pocket Losses and/or Time Spent and Credit Monitoring Services. 

So after getting our identity stolen and promised restitution, you will just give us a year of credit monitoring...two years after the breach. As if we haven't already addressed the breach over the last two years. This is ridiculous. Too much work on your end is not acceptable when 147 MILLION people had to take it upon themselves to rectify this initially for their own economic wellbeing and safety. This is all a sham. Shame on you.

If your information was exposed in the Equifax breach, you can claim up to 10 years of free credit monitoring. You can claim cash payments, capped at $20,000 per person, for expenses you paid as a result of the Equifax breach and time you spent dealing with the breach. Go to www.FTC.gov/Equifax to learn about the benefits.

Thise of us affected did not wait for the settlement. Wegot our credit monitoring system after the breach and before the settlement. It would have been dumb to continue to be vulnerable without protection. So we should take a settlement on something we already have? Bad settlement

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