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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

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.

I am one of those who opted to receive the cash payout instead of credit monitoring. During that process, I submitted support docs to show time spent dealing with this issue. On August 28th, 2019, I received a letter from the settlement admin, telling me I have until Oct 7th to activate my credit mounting. I guess the Admin or the courts have decided for me that I will receive the monitoring service.. What a fiasco.

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.

I had Equifax monitoring service and they never alerted me to their hack. What good is having a monitoring service if they don't even alert you to their own hack? I cancelled after the hack because it was a waste of money. Now in order to get a cash settlement you have to have a monitoring service? This shouldn't be a requirement, they should just refund people their money. I paid for a service for 2 years that was a waste. The people in charge should go to jail for covering it up. There's no justice in this country for CEO's in this country.

...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.

Im confused how the free credit monitoring is significantly better than the 6 free credit reports that everyone will be entitled to even without a claim. Other than the identity theft insurance, how much more protection are you actually getting than if you just pulled your credit every 2 months?

"Starting in 2020, all U.S. consumers can get 6 free credit reports per year for 7 years from the Equifax website."

Credit monitoring tracks activity on your credit reports at one, two, or all three of the major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. If you spot activity that might be because of identity theft or a mistake, you can take steps to resolve the problem before it grows. Some companies monitor daily. Some monitor less frequently.

If you request your credit reports, you get information about what new activity is on your credit report whenever you get the report. If you request a report every two months, you will probably be getting new information less often than if you had credit monitoring.

 

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.

I filed a claim when will my free credit monitoring start? You say when final settlement is done January 23, 2020 but what happens between now and then??? That's ridicules!!

Now they are requiring you to already have credit monitoring services, in order to receive the cash offer. This whole thing is a mess and is not doing any justice to the consumer.

I just received an email from Equifax - Please note that if you do not take action by October 15, 2019, your claim for alternative compensation will be denied. Why do I have to re-file a claim? The FTC has ensured that government branches are adequately compensated, but not consumers. It is clear that this settlement is ineffective and I doubt that Equifax management will learn from it.

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.

To me, it is none of their business if I get monitoring from another company or not. And not their business who is doing the monitoring. I got sent an email demanding I list who is doing my monitoring. I have chosen not to let ANYONE monitor me anymore, and I should have the right to make that choice. They make it sound like I am not eligible for the settlement if I dont get credit monitoring from yet another company that can be hacked.

If you filed a claim before August 2, 2019 and asked for a cash payment of up to $125, you may get an email that says you must take steps to get your benefits. If you want benefits, follow the instructions in the email. You must:

  • give the name of the credit monitoring service you had when you asked for the cash payment OR
  • change your claim to ask for credit monitoring instead of the cash payment

You must take the steps before October 15, 2019, or your claim may be denied. Get more information about the settlement at www.FTC.gov/Equifax or www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com.

How is this allowed to happen? If I was found liable for a car wreck and had to pay damages, I couldn't just offer some e-service instead of money.

Can the FTC say how many people have claimed the $125 or even how many people have submitted a claim so we can divide the $31 million by that amount and see how small the checks might be? If 10% of the 147 million submitted a claim and 10% of those requested the $125 then each would get $21. If 20% submitted a claim and 20% requested the $125 then each will get $5.

I DO HAD ALREADY A CREDIT MONITORING SERVICES "THANKS" TO ANOTHER SECURITY BREACH WITH A DIFFERENT COMPANY, WHY SHOULD I TAKE ANOTHER????.

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