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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.

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 There is money available under the settlement to reimburse people for what they spent to recover from the breach. For example, you may file a claim for money you spent to place credit freezes after the breach, or hire someone to help you deal with identity theft. The settlement has a larger pool of money for people who had those expenses. If you’re one of them, use your documents to submit your claim.

You are missing the point. 147 million people were affected. Yet only $31 million allotted for the $125 cash payment. That is enough for 248,000 people then it is gone. 248,000 is less than 1 percent of the 147 million people. Why are the states, D.C, and PR splitting $175 million? Did their data get compromised? Why pay the CFPB $100 million? That money could be given to the PEOPLE. That $306 million would increase the number of $125 payments available to 2,448,000. which would still only be 1.7% of the 147 million affected.

Question: once you've filled out the form, if you're harmed by the breached information in the future, can you still apply for these reinbursements? Or have you waived that as soon as you fill out the settlement form? The fact that our SSOs are public information now isn't something that only affects us for two years.

Under the settlement, every person (including people who do not file a claim) can get free help recovering from identity theft for at least seven years. If you find out that someone misused your personal information, in the future, you can call the company that is managing the settlement at 1-833-759-2982. The company will tell you how to get the free identity restoration services.

 

Yes, if all of the 176M filed for money, it would only amount to $0.18 cents. RIDICULOUS. Why advertise $125 when it is false. And beyond that, many of us DO already have monitoring- my bank provides it to me at no cost. I should NOT have to do more research and find MORE information for you to prove I have it. If I'd rather have a payout, it should be simple. I have spent enough time on this process as it is, only to get a laughable amount what was first requested. But If I had saved receipts and paid out money then there is a LOT more there for me. RIDICULOUS. Typical FTC.

Yesterday I was told I will $125.00. Today I am told I will get nowhere near that amount. I just find it hard to believe the FTC could do this.

this is a slap in the face. equifax needs to be liquidated.

I had the credit monitoring initially after the problem was identified, but I am not sure if I still have it. After the data was exposed, I received a report from each of the agencies as suggested, and I froze the accounts. Then I promptly paid off my one credit card in full and cancelled any credit accounts I had with retail stores. Is there any reason to have credit monitoring if I froze and cancelled all accounts? I would rather have cash and never have anything to do with any of these agencies again.

Can anyone explain how the purported $575MM suddenly evaporated leaving just $31MM to pay claims? Something just doesn't smell right here.

This FTC press release has more details about the settlement:

Equifax to Pay $575 Million as Part of Settlement with FTC, CFPB, and States Related to 2017 Data Breach.

The 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. 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.

Learn more about the settlement at www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com in the FAQs.

Do consumers have the option of preserving their right to sue in the event they fall victim to identity theft in the future? I don't agree this resolution is sufficient and do not wish to waive my rights here.

Seems to me that if the settlement monies were designated to monitoring versus cash in the wrong proportions given what consumers want or need, then the allocation of funds in the settlement should be changed to provide more to the cash option. The actual data breach happened two years ago and is just one of many, did the FTC honestly think that most people aren't already monitoring their credit??

Maybe everyone submitting claims already has credit monitoring from the last ten companies that have leaked their data without consequence.

If the number of claims for cash reimbursement for this data breach has exhausted the $31M allocated in the settlement, perhaps the FTC should have pushed for a larger amount?

the data breach destroyed my credit credit report my life is not the same any more my macys account destroyed amazon account destroyed my capital one account destroyed i dont want any more credit card in my life is destroyed

How about free credit monitoring AND the measly $125 compensation? If Equifax can buy and sell our data without consent and then lose it into the ether due to poor security protocols, it's the least they can do. Slaps on the wrists don't encourage these crooks to make any significant reforms to the way they handle our data.

I dont think i have to disclose who i use for my credit monitoring. Who i use is my business.

This is unacceptable and ridiculous. Make them pay for the damages as they said they would. Stop letting big businesses off the hook for mistakes they make.

WASTE OF OUR TIME!!!

This is so totally unacceptable. How could you possible not have anticipated the number of people who already have monitoring and would opt for the cash? We have been victimized twice. Once by Equifax and once by our government.

I submitted my online claim summary today. When does the clock start ticking for the 4 yr monitoring? And, just to confirm, after that ends, then I will be given an option to be monitored for 6 add'l years by one of the three credit bureau services?

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.

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 must opt in for the one-bureau services when you submit your claim for credit monitoring services, and you will get instructions for how to enroll in the one-bureau monitoring before your three-bureau credit monitoring services end.

In the early days after the breech, Equifax asked for my personal information to inform me that I was indeed affected. NOW when they again ask for my personal information to check my eligibility for the settlement, surprise! turns out they claim I wasn't affected after all. Why on earth would I should believe them?

What about those who applied for compensation for the hours they spent taking care of the problems? It was to be $25/hour.—has that “disappeared,” too?

We had our acct. blocked and later it was unblocked,not by us,and caused much problems.We were lucky,bank called us first before a loan was granted.

I tried to contact the Settlement people, but the link provided did not work!

How do we opt out of the credit monitoring? My credit score sucks anyways so experian's service would be useless. Plus I don't want Experian getting into my personal info anymore. They just sell it to advertisers anyways

How is a $700 million dollar settlement set to use only $31 million for cash settlement. Sounds like FTC covering for another big business failure at the expense of those who were affected by this breach

This FTC press release has more details about the settlement: Equifax to Pay $575 Million as Part of Settlement with FTC, CFPB, and States Related to 2017 Data Breach.

The 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. 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.

There is more information about the settlement in the FAQs at www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com.

Can someone explain what the point in paying money to the states may be? Their information didn't get compromised, the individual consumers did. $31 million to consumers, $175 million to the states, an uninjured party, makes no sense.

"Equifax will pay $300 million to a fund that will provide affected consumers with credit monitoring services. "

Does this mean Equifax will be paying itself $300 million to monitor people's credit? Maybe, since most people chose the other option, they could instead spend less money on that fund and more money on paying $125 per person AS WAS PROMISED.

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.

Why don’t you ask the 48 states, DC, and Puerto Rico if they want to opt for free credit monitoring instead of their cash payments? That would free up more funds for the actual victims in this case.

These lawsuits are set up for the attorneys to make money, not the claimants.

I can get free credit monitoring without Equifax's help. Pretty misleading "settlement."

What is the purpose of them emailing to ask who I used for credit monitoring? It's none of their business, especially since they are an entity that has already been careless with data. Are they going to only pay out to people who give them the name of a company or prove that they use credit monitoring?

in fact, the credit monitoring I had (until recently) *was* Equifax, which is why I find myself in this fix to begin with! So no thanks, give me my $125 and let me be on my way before anything else happens.

Agreed. I won't be providing this company with my information. They already have too much of it as it is.

What is the settlement administrator going to do with the name of my 3rd party credit monitoring company? Ask for verification from the company? Ask for an account number? Store it somewhere safe? I would be unhappy if my credit monitoring company gave any information out to anyone. Can we have more transparency to the process here? Thanks.

Of note: Yesterday's FTC blog post was about the Capital One data breach. Today's is about the Equifax breach. Instead of getting us free credit monitoring (which provides us exactly zero avenues of prevention of loss and only avenues of recompense), why doesn't the FTC advocate for Americans by implementing meaningful fines and punishments on companies as a means to deter these leaks. The best data breach is the one that doesn't happen and companies clearly won't be bothered to do anything about these incidents until they are held meaningfully accountable.

It appears that there are some added benefits included with the credit monitoring as opposed to the multiple instances of data breaches resulting in just credit monitoring from the past. However, considering the extent of the damage one would hope that Equifax would be required to provide lifetime monitoring with all the associated benefits mentioned. The threat isn't going away even after your dead it just won't matter to you afterward although it might for your family.

Corporations left to their own devices will always take the short cut solution. Market solutions only benefit the businesses and seldom result in anything positive for consumers outside of saving a few pesos on whatever trinkets you're buying.

Honestly ridiculous I’ve been harassed by all kinds of scams hospitals personal medical information breached,I already suffer from identity theft and now this very disappointed. I’m going to seek legal counsel I’m not agreeing to anything this just put me in a deeper and more serious situation.

I was not comfortable using the link to see if I was one of the millions who was affected by the breach. They wanted too much personal information.

This is a disgrace. I don't want the credit monitoring of a company that has demonstrated they cannot be trusted with data. It's like getting food poisoning from a restaurant and being offered more free food.

I’m guessing the FTC attorneys left a couple zeros off the settlement papers, and Equifax happily signed it quick!
Do the public a favor and remind them anyone can get a FREE credit report once a year from each of the three main credit companies by going to......
Annualcreditreport.com
Congress passed that law years ago!

I filed clams for both my wife and myself and opted for the credit monitoring. Will we be eligible for monthly credit reports from Experian? I wasn’t sure. When will we hear from the administrator? December/January?

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#

So even tho i opted for the 125 payout, now they say its gonna be less unless i decide to opt for credit monitoring instead? That doesn't seem fair, as i dont have credit monitoring and i should have the option of getting it at another time....

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