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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

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.

How can the FTC not charge Equifax with wrongdoing when the credit agency allowed security holes to exist in their software?

FTC, do your job by charging negligence on such stupid behavior.

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.

So, like myself. Credit information is stolen. Card stolen and was being sent to another address on a different state. Our personal information is allowed to be had and kept by Credit reporting agencies and supposedly for our benefit. HOW AM I BENEFITTING AND WHY DO CREDITORS NEED A 3RD PARTY TO VERIGY MY PERSONAL FINANCIAL INFORMATION. MY IDENTITY IS WHO I AM AND NO ID THEFY MONITORING NOR 125 DOLLARS MAKES A FLIP WHEN YOUR INFORMATION IS OUT IN THE WORLD FOR ANYONE TO TAKE AND USE. The damage is exponential and the cost of that should break Equifax. Why does the FCC continue to allow this money making machine access to my life? And not pay for it ????

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?

This is utter incompetence. Did anyone do the math on $31 million / 147 million? This information should have been disclosed more overtly and honestly ahead of time, and the FTC and Equifax should correct their mistakes instead of trying to convince consumers to change their mind based on some supposed "retail value". We can get credit monitoring as well as identity theft insurance for $0... Why would we trust the company who already left our data in the hands of hackers? To make matters worse, the eligibility site requested enough information based on false claims that if hackers were watching that, they could steal even more information from consumers. How do people keep their jobs with this level of incompetence and dishonesty?

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.

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