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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 prefer not to use Equifax credit monitoring service. That is the fox guarding the hen house. I prefer to pay Experian.

FAQ #8 on the settlement website www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com says settlement class members may submit a claim to enroll in at least four years of three-bureau credit monitoring services, provided by Experian, at no cost. Go to www.FTC.gov/Equifax to learn what benefits an affected person can file a claim for, including:

  • free credit monitoring and identity theft protection services
  • cash payments capped at $20,000 per person for expenses you paid as a result of the breach and time you spent dealing with the breach

Where is the rest of the 700 million dollars going?

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.

Dear FTC,
This is ridiculous. Equifax should provide ten(10) years of Identify monitoring to every single one of the people who are at risk for free, and a check for $125 as an apology. If they do not agree to this, then they should close down.

shouldn't equifax have been paying a monitoring agency all along to monitor our personal information ? or monitoring it themselves
? and how do we know if the company hired to monitor my credit for 4 years is trustworthy, has ever prevented id theft even once, and/ or won't have a data breach themselves???

It seems to me that whoever agreed to this settlement was looking out for the business who created the mess, and not the consumers who were burned. These businesses are not too big to fail, and if they had to pay a bit more, maybe they would be more careful in the future. And if a few failed, the rest would really get the message.

I already have free credit monitoring. I would prefer the cash payment. I feel that Equifax should be held a little more accountable since they've been in business since I can remember and I'm 73 yrs. old not to mention the millions of customers. So why don't you all get your act together and take better care of the customers or get out of this business.

Everyone should get free credit monitoring until Equifax can guarantee it's got all our data back (forever).

I'm extremely disappointed and I don't know who the FTC even works for anymore. It doesn't appear to be for us.

I want the name of the person that thought this was a good idea

Thanks for your poor settlement, protecting Equifax instead of consumers.

If the settlement is worth 700 million and the victims get 31 million; where is other 669 million going?

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.

Equifax's credit monitoring has a zero dollar value. Anyone can get free credit monitoring from numerous resources. If Equifax can't pay for restitution as agreed, then they should be liquidated, and any assets can be added to the funds for restitution.

Under the settlement, you can get free, three-bureau 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. Learn more about the other benefits available at www.FTC.gov/Equifax and www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com.

Bridget from the FTC: You can keep answering with the FAQs, links, etc, but someone should be sending these comments up the chain. The American people are TIRED of there being consequences that amount to a slap on the wrist. Why should companies bother with security when they continue to get away with this time after time after time. When is the FTC going to put CONSUMERS FIRST???? This settlement is a joke - Equifax should be out of business.

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.

The FTC is suppose to protect the consumers, instead they protected Equifax and helped Equifax avoid bankruptcy. Equifax should not be in business and that would have set a great example to the other major credit bureaus. FTC should be shut down for protecting the business of Equifax and not the consumers. End Equifax and FTC

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.

Equifax's punishment isn't. They admit to nothing, they lose a tiny portion of their immense profits from selling my information to anyone who asks, and they can go right on doing it in the future and never suffer any additional severe consequences. They buy and sell my personal data with no recompense to me, and when they lose it to thieves, they are forgiven. That is reprehensible and the FTC has failed in its mandate to protect the consumer.

I receive free credit monitoring as a result of another breach, the State is Oklahoma’s Securities Dept.. As such, there’s no point for me to opt for additional monitoring - quite the failure on the part of the FTC.

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.

I see you’re protecting Big Business, and not the victims of the crime. Shame on you.

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??

The anger of millions was predictable. The FTC failed badly in creating settlement terms that would ensure their desire for recompense. You've let Equifax get away with theft and negligence, and left the victims with no recourse. Do better next time.

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?

Ridiculous. It’s not my fault that Equifax can’t secure their data. How is it my problem that so many people signed up? I couldn’t care less if Equifax goes completely under. They had a breach and they’re responsible. They should have the means to pay what they said they’d pay. Period.

I am no longer confident in any of the credit agencies. I had problems with all of them due to this breach. I do not have the exact date at this time because I am moving. But one day at work I received a message from Bank of America mobile app. Someone had made a large purchase . Bank of America let it go through. I called their Fraud Dept...It was a nightmare. The bank told me not to worry it was probably a mistake?? It took forever ..We are not protected by credit agencies or our very own Banks. Very scary. I have lots of documentation I don't know where to start.

My old arithmetic tells me that if the 147,000,000 people affected by this are to divide the entire $700,000,000 settlement that would provide each claimant about $4.76.

Who is the genius who negotiated this because it is insulting. I expect the Judge will need a lot of time to review all the letters that will be submitted from affected citizens.

“unexpected number of claims" hahahahaha You should take your comedy routine on the road.

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