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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 am already receiving free credit monitoring from Experian (ID Theft), as are many (millions?) others. Thus the offer of free credit monitoring is worthless, unless they will extend the time of the free offer to be consecutive to any existing credit monitoring, free or otherwise. (They don't even tell you how long the free protection you are getting is for - i.e., when it expires - when you are logged in to their website!) . This highlights the problem with credit bureaus that the FTC is not addressing, regardless of this settlement. Consumers are not being protected by this settlement, only the status quo is being protected.

Go to the settlement website (www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com) for details about the free credit monitoring.

FAQ #8 states that 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. 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.

Frequently Asked Question #19 on the settlement website 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.

Why would I need credit monitoring when I still have my credit frozen already from prior breaches?

forget monitoring and cash payouts, people should be going to jail for this

Typical: EQ creates the problem ... then offers the "solution" to the problem it created ... as if.

Why hasn't the government shut down this company? They knew their cybersecurity was lax but refused to spend any money to fix it. Now we are screwed. These credit bureaus have way too much control over American's finances and there is no watch dog.

It seems to me that they are pushing you for the credit monitoring choice. No thanks. I believe I may of had it when the breach happened. In addition, a while ago I thought I should go to the police. They told me years ago that you can’t do anything until the crook’s actually used the card. Well, now they have. The reason I smell a fish? They are already chipping at the money persuading us to get the credit monitoring choice. We see how good that works if they took these numbers a while back and your company didn’t even notice. Plus, you did not sit the for hours and hours cleaning up after this breach.

If your information was exposed in the Equifax breach, you can file a claim for cash payments, capped at $20,000 per person, for expenses you paid as a result of the breach and for the time you spent dealing with the breach. Read about the benefits available at www.FTC.gov/Equifax.

In general, if your information is lost, stolen or exposed in a data breach, you can take steps to protect yourself. Go to IdentityTheft.gov to learn what to do if your Social Security number, bank card, driver's license or other information are lost, stolen or exposed.

I'm very disappointed with the FTC's approval of a meager cash settlement from Equifax. Capping the cash settlement is another consumer ripoff. The FTC should realize that credit monitoring is not that desirable. There have been so many data breaches, I have multiple, free, credit monitoring services now.

Shame, shame on you for failure to punish Equifax.

My boyfriend signed up for the free credit monitoring, but does not know how to confirm if he is receiving it or how to access it. Could you please direct us to a site he can go to in order to check if he was successfully signed up for it? Thank you!

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.

I signed up for free credit monitoring 3 days ago but haven't received a confirmation. Does anyone know if we will receive an email with registration instructions?

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.

Why was such a small settlement accepted by the FTC, valuing 147 million people's most private information at such a small dollar amount??

A large number of consumers already have credit monitoring from one of the countless data breaches that have already occurred. In that sense the value of that being offered by Equifax is zero. Even if it wasn't, it's only to minimize the damage from the breach. There needs to be some punative accountability to consumers for the negligence in protecting their data.

I have filed a claim to get credit monitoring but have not received any reply. The lookup tool confirmed that my info was included on the data breach. How long will it take to get a response?

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.

Bad resolution. $125 is already piddiling but 75 cent is insulting. Wish I could start over and sign up for a class action suit. Why would trust them to monitor my credit?

Hey FTC,

Are you protecting consumers, or are you protecting Equifax?

Signed,
A Concerned Citizen

So when do you expect we receive this small amount which was supposed to be $125?

The FTC has information about the settlement at www.FTC.gov/Equifax. FAQ #3 says the settlement administrator will not send out any benefits until they are allowed to do so by the court, which will be January 23, 2020, at the earliest. We will update the page when we have more information.

 

The same settlement also gave $100 million to the other Fed government agency Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in penalties. Is it eligible to have those funds disbursed to the real customs or does it go towards CFPB’s overhead that they keep for themselves?

. I will admit I have some limiting disabilities, but how hard is it to just find the POTENTIAL BREECH tab! OMG. I have looked on this site and forwarded to Equifax site. I just want to ENTER MY LAST 6 digits of my SS and name and find out. ANYONE, please, that please help me by sending a direct link to that page would be awesome. TKS in advance

To read FTC questions and answers go to: www.FTC.gov/Equifax.

To see if your information was breached click on: Look-up Tool.

To file a claim on the settlement website go to: www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com

Typical. Can we sue Equifax out of existence?

I was offered $125 and I accepted. If I owe money and don't pay there are consequences. If I don't get $125 Experian should suffer consequences. If there is not enough money for Experian to fulfill their obligation increase the net pool of funds from Experian until there is enough money. I already have two monitoring services; another is worthless to me.

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