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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

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 is a woefully inadequate settlement, as also expressed by all of these comments. Consumers are smart enough to know when they are not being protected by the agency tasked with protecting them. While the FTC was garnering publicity for its $5 billion settlement with Facebook, for which consumers received not one benefit and for conduct that consumers are not even aware of and was likely not even illegal and will not change, it was not negotiating a record-breaking fine and consumer restitution for a breach that actually harmed 147 million consumers for the loss of their sensitive personal data. I urge the FTC to return to its obligation to protect consumers and focus on harm to the consumer.

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.

This is appalling. If the settlement did not include funds sufficient to pay those effected the offered $125 cash, you never should have said “$125 or free credit monitoring.” Why anyone was surprised that people would choose cash over credit monitoring is beyond me. Now it appears Equifax will be getting off easy — and those of us effected will be short-changed — because of FTC’s failure to negotiate a meaningful settlement. Corporate America wins again, at the expense of the consumer.

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.

I see bothme and my wife is affected but don't know when and how. Please suggest if there a way to find this.

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.

We’re supposed to give ‘credit’ to this company for notifying us of the breach (if they even discovered it), and then the opportunity to further ‘monitor’ our accounts? When it and its ceo are incompetent? Until law enforcement stops settling with such defendants and takes the ceo bonus, makes the company ‘Ex-Equifax’, and makes them adequately pay their penalties, I, like the others have no faith in govt agencies, ‘monitoring’, or their security.

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.

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