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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 filled out the request for a claim form to be sent to me on 2/27/19, I have NOT received it, does that mean I can't file a claim because the form was not sent to me???

What a joke of a "settlement" this is. The FTC should be ashamed, while Equifax's lawyers are laughing their way to the bank.

Many credit cards, banks, and credit unions already offer this service. How is it reasonable that you thought half the US would still need this service from a company that gave away all of our information in the first place?

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.

This is a joke. Get me my money. I will NOT switch to credit monitoring. I'll gladly waste your ink!!!

I just signed up for the credit monitoring instead of the cash. And I received what I’m thinking is a sketchy email with a link and activation code. How will we know what the official email with the activation code will look like?

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.

I filed a claim on July 28th (and got a claim #) for free credit monitoring and haven't received any response to date. When will I hear something?

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.

How do we even know what data was breached!!!? I had no idea until I could check this week on credit karma. Are we safe?

You can't opt for the $125 cash settlement unless you already have credit monitoring services? That's super bogus! But it's still not as bogus as allocating so little in the settlement that each cash claimant is now projected to received considerably less that the originally promised $125. Once again the consumers and victims get the shaft in these class action settlements.

Hi: A while ago I sent in a comment questioning the competence of the FTC in agreeing to this settlement and wondering if the FTC had become a captive regulator. It hasn’t posted, and as it did not violate FTC comment guidelines (unless question the Agency’s competence or calling it a captive regulator is profane or a slur), I was wondering why the FTC didn’t post it?

Is the FTC a regulatory body capable of doing its job? Or a toothless lapdog? It's all becoming clearer now.

This such a sham. We, the people never authorized them to collect our data. Now they have”lost” it all and we are supposed to trust them to monitor or guard our data! Fox guarding the chicken coup... I had a freeze on my data and still it was leaked.

I opted for the credit monitoring, when can I expect a response from the credit agencies?

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.

My understanding was that if there was not enough money for those who affected by the breach, then Equifax would be required to get more money to compensate those who chose cash instead of monitoring. I already have free monitoring.

This is extremely unfair, why would they announce that you can receive a certain amount and then claim we cannot after people have requested it. The amount of money needed to cover 125 for each person should be the settlement amount. This company gave people access to my information and worse if they use it later I cannot do anything about it. THIS IS FORVER. These people have our information forever, they can use it as they wish and don't have to use it in the time frame shown on the faqs page. What happens if a few years passes and we are subjected to fraud, because of this breach?

The FTC as always dropped the ball, the government gets a large paycheck while the people they claim to protect are being duped.

If you experience fraud a few years after the breach, you could

  • find out about misuse of your information, if you filed a claim for free credit monitoring that's offered under the settlement;
  • get $1 million of identity theft insurance, if you filed a claim for free credit monitoring that's offered under the settlement;
  • get free identity restoration services, even if you didn't file a claim.

Go to www.FTC.gov/Equifax to learn about the settlement benefits. The deadline to file a claim is January 22, 2020.

 

I have read many of these comments, and have come to the conclusion that these credit bureaus should be terminated permanently. They are out of control and are no longer useful to anyone, in fact, they are a danger to the creditworthiness of the American citizen and all businesses that are forced to use them.

Credit reporting agencies make money from credit reports to banks etc. The credit data belongs to the person. People need to have control over the data and should not have to pay for it! If I don’t want credit I should be able to shut down or freeze any access to my data! There should be no profit made by credit agencies for “credit monitoring “. It is ridiculous that credit data is open for business even when people don’t need credit. So, I want more control over my data 24/7. Give control of MY data back and I should not have to pay to opt out.

How or where do I receive a claim form from. I contacted them but they have yet to mail me one. Thank you

You can file a claim online:

You can write to the Administrator and ask them to mail you a form. Write To: In re Equifax Data Breach Settlement
c/o JND Legal Administration
PO Box 91318
Seattle, WA 98111-9418

You can call the Administrator and ask them to mail you a form. Call 1-833-759-2982.

I submitted a claim for the free monitoring service as soon as I was notified of the settlement. However, I have not received any confirmation from Equifax that the credit monitoring was in place. Shouldn't I have received an email or letter by now?

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.

When will the credit monitoring service start? I have been paying Life Lock for a few months and would like to stop paying as soon as possible. Is it possible to be reimbursed for those fees?

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.

Learn more about the benefits available at www.FTC.gov/Equifax.

O.K. jumped thru all the hoops, I have a claim number, when can i expect to be emailed instructions. or a website to sign up for free credit monitoring for the next 10 years?

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.

@Bridget Small,
You wrote "Settlement Administrator will send you an activation code and link .." Do you know if this link will be the same as what they use now to access the current credit report? If it is, how will this integrate with the one already that has been established?

I don't have information about the credit monitoring service you have now.

For information about the credit monitoring service you can get under the settlement, please look at the FAQ on www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com. FAQ #8 has information about credit monitoring services.

There is always a catch. The information that was stolen can sit out there and when time is right, and the offenders can wiggle around the walls, and encryption. Let me be blunt, decline the cash, so Equifax can be in charge of security again. I would prefer not to give Equifax more money..
So that's my answer.

...all of a sudden Experian and Equifax are trying to look like they are responsible by charging the consumer for the damages they have inflicted on so many. They should be treated as the monopoly they are...shame on them. Shame on any of us who imagine these companies "wanna help". It's another swamp...

My browser says that the Equifax breach settlement web site uses a weak security algorithm. Interesting...

When can I expect that email from the 'settlement administrator' allowing me to switch to free credit monitoring from original cash request??? STILL waiting!!!

I received an email that looks legit, but they want the last 6 digits of my SS#.Really? 6 digits? Then I see fraud emails are abounding. Help me

I don't know about the exact email that you got. But, the court has approved sending out emails to explain the settlement to people, so they can find out if they're eligible and learn how to file a claim.

To check if your information was affected, use the look-up tool on the settlement site: Look-up tool. You have to enter your last name & last six digits of your Social Security number to search.

Go to www.FTC.gov/Equifax to read about the settlement benefits.

Can I get reimbursement for payment to a monitoring company for Feb 2018 and Feb 2019 as well as expenses for my breach, and start the free credit monitoring after mine runs out?

Go to www.FTC.gov/Equifax to read about benefits available under the settlement.

You can file a claim for cash payments for expenses you paid becuase of the breach, like the cost of credit monitoring or cost of freezing & unfreezing your credit report.

Read about the free credit monitoring on the FTC information page and in the FAQ at www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com.

How can I tell if my account has been breached and if I am entitled to anything. Tom L

Use the look-up tool that is on the Equifax settlement site to find out if your information was affected.

Go to www.FTC.gov/Equifax for more information about the settlement.

I already have this as part of Norton.
Looks like you failed at what you do best.

Now you tell us there's a problem with the cash option after we were originally told that we would receive $125.00, and we have already taken this option? I already have a credit monitoring service. Maybe this should trigger another group settlement.

I already have protection coverage from all three credit consumer, what do i get for my worries.

Help email compromised and afraid they settled for 125$ And I only put one on and not for the 125$ I did a big claim

I had 33.2 billion dollars. in my name

This is all pretty shameful on your behalf, my information was stolen on your watch and you can't even care enough to fully and correctly rectify your own mistakes. Sad.

I have a freeze on my credit with equifax but my info is still being out without my approval. Just not right to pay for something you're not getting.

I went the website a week ago and completed the form to get free credit monitoring. I expected to get some type of response with info on how/where to sign up. I have heard nothing. No emails at all with info on how to sign up for the free credit monitoring.

We already are entitled to a free credit check per year. We choose the 125.00. Too bad this info wasn't included in the email claim form!!! Just going to lock credit.

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