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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

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.

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

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