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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

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!!

If Equifax had a data breach, can you tell me why anyone would want free monitoring from Equifax ??? Doesn't seem hat it makes any sense, like cutting off your nose to spite your face, js

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.

Who would want credit monitoring from a company responsible for a data breach? If there is not enough money, an error was made here. Equifax has the ability to impact credit scores and should not be in business any longer. Another huge breach of public trust and the US judiciary.

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????.

I wrote my congressman and senator asking that congress open an investigation into the the incompetence of the FTC in negotiating this settlement. I urge everyone to do the same. The FTC needs to be held accountable for not reaching a settlement that compensates everyone the $125 we were originally promised, which, in itself, is an insult.

Not sure if credit monitoring is worth it even if they offer it for free. I fail to see the intent of even having this when they placed my information with millions of other people's information at risk. Where is our compensation for the thousands we loose because of their "mistake"????

The fact that they are even allowed to amass all kinds of personal identifying information is amazing and they still make a large profit from it. Yet they allowed our information to be at risk to people who have bad intentions and all they have to offer is free credit monitoring which does little because you have to spend hours of your own time to fix what they screw up.

What a joke!!! I want a refund since the government failed us again.

You can file a claim for expenses you paid as a result of the breach and time you spent dealing with the breach. Go to www.FTC.gov/Equifax to learn what expenses you can claim, and other benefits available under the settlement.

You must file a claim by January 22, 2020. Go to www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com to file a claim.

Signed up for credit monitoring months ago and I have heard nothing!! They were suppose to send an email.

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 earliest the settlement will be final is January 23, 2020.

How do we find out if our info has been breached?

You can look that up from www.FTC.gov/Equifax.

I got an email asking for 'extra' information and it said I must provide them with the name of the monitoring company I chose. For one, it is none of their business and requiring that info is shameful. Two, why would I give info to anyone who already gave out my private info?

I just wrote Not Required in the box. Thata the name of my monitoring service. What are they going to do with that info? Sendme ads that insist theirs are better?

FAQ # 10 on the settlement website (www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com) says if you ask for cash reimbursement instead of free credit monitoring, you must certify that you have some form of credit monitoring or protection services on the date you submit your claim form, name the provider of those services, and certify that you will keep those services for a minimum of six (6) months.

Maybe because I'm on the mobile website, I cant find anything that says I'm supposed to give out private information regarding the name of the credit monitoring service I'm using.

I signed up for free credit monitoring service and received a claim number. The confirmation page does not provided any feedback about the next step (steps) are. What is the next step?

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 we sign to receive free credit monitoring, is this opening us up to any fine print consequences? Will it in anyway allow Equifax to make money off victims? Will we start to receive more junk mail? Credit card sales pitches or ??? Will the FTC monitor Equifax to make sure it won't creatively recoup it's losses by abuse of victims?

You can learn more about the free credit monitoring at www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com in the FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions). FAQ # 8 has information about the credit monitoring service.There 27 FAQ on the page.

I had a call from Amazon, telling me I owed the 499 dollars for prime,I never had a paid subscription, caused by the breach

When will we be contacted about the free monitoring? I'm already paying $22/mo & it would be nice to kick in asap

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 will be final on January 23, 2020 at the earliest.

This is the 2nd month that I have been called by someone claiming to represent the SSA. Today, I was threatened with legal action from this scammer (Anna Nicole Smith out of San Antonio, TX. Badge #: SSM607028) and I am getting fed up with this. What action is Equifax going to take to keep this from occurring again? I see no point in "Free Credit Monitoring" because the breach came from Equifax's end. I do not want money either. I want these calls to stop and very soon.

This is the 2nd month that I have been called by someone claiming to represent the SSA. Today, I was threatened with legal action from this scammer (Anna Nicole Smith out of San Antonio, TX. Badge #: SSM607028) and I am getting fed up with this. What action is Equifax going to take to keep this from occurring again? I see no point in "Free Credit Monitoring" because the breach came from Equifax's end. I do not want money either. I want these calls to stop and very soon.

If they ever ask what State you were born in or what state you received your first SS card, delete yourself from their system entirely. They asked for the last 6 digits of your SS # (normally you re only asked the last 4 digits). All they have to do is ask what State your original SS card was issued in, and then they have your ENTIRE SS #. The first 3 digits tell what State your card was issued in.

I froze my credit after the breach. I sent a question asking if this qualifies as monitoring... it is certainly a pain... but got no answer to that question. My spouse has credit monitoring from another breach and all of our bank accounts, both our emails and phone numbers are covered under that, does that count? No one answers these questions!!!

The settlement website says if you want to file a claim for cash alternative reimbursement, you must:

  • certify that you have some form of credit monitoring or protection services on the date you submit your claim form; and 
  • name the provider of those services, and
  • certify that you will keep those services for a minimum of six (6) months.

That information is in FAQ # 10 on the settlement website: www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com.

These credit company's should be held accountable. Not just free monitoring. I believe they should have to pay out a substantial amount to those affected. Our personal information falling into the wrong hands can be very detrimental, even in the distant future. It's time to hold these companies accountable, not just for monitoring but let's say at least$10,000 to each affected person. It's their negligence putting us at risk. Enough is enough. If they are going to be in the business they're in they should be responsible enough to do their jobs while protecting us and if not, shut them down.

OK - so I opted for the cash settlement, because I already have a credit monitoring service. There is something odd happening with my Equifax credit score, and it may or may not be related to my decision to submit a claim. While my credit scores in both Transunion and Experian are in the "Very Good" range, my Equifax score is being reported as in the "Fair" range. Seems a little fishy to me. Anyone have this same experience?

Did Equifax or settlement agency sent the free credit monitoring activation link yet ?

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 will be final on January 23, 2020 at the earliest.

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 lost my mind through all of this horrible time with identity theft. So much so that I gave up. My car was repossesed. I cant do anything anymore. This was and is not right. My email was hacked so I could not communicate or read up to date material. I have saved almost everything but it's far from organized. 4 different cell phone companies. Still owe sprint but I cant tell you even why they turned me in as I was in contact with admins from day 1. I'm so tired.

How do I actually sign up for free credit monitoring? I don't seem to be able to find a way to do it.

I just signed up. This will answer questions that people have been asking. The activation code will be sent ONLY once the settlement is completed. See cut and paste from website:

Option 1, Credit Monitoring: I want to receive free, three-bureau credit monitoring.
If you select this option, you will be sent instructions and an activation code after the settlement is final to your email address or home address. You won’t be "upsold" any services by enrolling or otherwise asked to submit any payment for these services now or in the future.

If you selected Option 1, would you like to sign-up for Equifax’s free, one-bureau credit monitoring service for up to 6 more years after the initial, three-bureau credit monitoring services expire?

Yes
If you select "yes" for this option, you will be sent instructions to your email address or your home address before your three-bureau credit monitoring expires. You won’t be "upsold" any services by enrolling or otherwise asked to submit any payment for these services now or in the future.

If my information is out there no matter where the breech comes from my info. is still out there I am scared now I check all I can every day now. How do you fix this feeling that I have now I am burning trash , I check my mail 2 to 3 times a day I am afraid now what do you think will happen 10 years from now? Fear is in my face everyday thanks to this. How do you fix this?

I opted for the 'small amount of cash' I guess but please be aware that 2-3 weeks ago I am again getting billings from Netflix and Amazon, contacted them with the info again, just like 2017 - so I feel it must still be going on - is a 'small amount' fair? just saying

I submitted my choice for free monitoring in response to an email although I pay for the three credit reports from Experian now. When I'm approved for the free monitoring of three reports and the Identify Theft Insurance, I intend to cancel my out of pocket payments to Experian for the monthly three credit reports. I'm assuming this will be okay and that you won't exclude me just because I'm already paying for the service from Experian.

How do I check to see that my initial choice of free monitoring is accepted? Or do I have to complete another application to be sure?

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