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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.

562 Comments


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Kam2618
August 01, 2019
Aw nah. Yall trippin. The sheet I printed didn't say "You will get up to $125" it said "You will get $125". Equifax owes us brand new identities and that's worth more than $125.
APB
August 01, 2019
Why don't you go back to the Court and have Equifax put more money into the settlement fund? That's not impossible. Better yet, why doesn't the federal government and the states terminate Equifax as a company. There is no reason for the company to exist.
Sgehring
August 01, 2019
Is this settlement appealable? It is clearly insufficient.
JustAnotherVictim
August 01, 2019
Most of us don't need credit monitoring because we have it already from other breaches. There is no value in having 12 separate credit monitoring services. The FTC should consider if they are really acting in the interest of victims or Equifax. Equifax had 3.1 Billion in annual revenue and yet only 30 million is available for victims?
comhcinc
August 01, 2019
Really? Really? Really! What is wrong with you people? Free credit monitoring (which you can get from hundreds of services) from the company that allowed it to happen in the first place?
FTC Staff
September 03, 2019

In reply to by comhcinc

FAQ #8 states that Settlement Class Members may submit a claim to enroll in at least four years of three-bureau credit monitoring services, provided by Experian, at no cost. Go to www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com to learn more.

ptb
August 01, 2019
please clarify which Experian product will be used for the free credit monitoring. The PLUS or PREMIUM version???
FTC Staff
August 15, 2019

In reply to by ptb

Read the FAQ on the settlement website (www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com) for information about the credit monitoring.

Tebbe
August 01, 2019
I chose the free credit monitoring option-my questions is how do I know when it goes into effect? Is Equifax supposed to notify me? I am hesitant to cancel my paid credit monitoring service until I know the Equifax option is in effect.
FTC Staff
August 05, 2019

In reply to by Tebbe

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.

The Settlement Administrator will send you an activation code and link to the Experian website. You can enroll and activate your credit monitoring services on the Experian website.

If you enroll in three-bureau credit monitoring services from Experian, you can also choose to enroll in up to six years of one-bureau credit monitoring services from Equifax that would start after the Experian services end. You must choose the one-bureau Equifax services when you make your claim for credit monitoring services. If you choose to get the Equifax services after the three-bureau services end, you will get instructions for how to enroll in the one-bureau Equifax services before the three-bureau  services end.

Garrett L.
August 01, 2019
When I'm already utilizing the services of two credit monitoring services as a result of previous data breaches (looking at you OPM) and will be awaiting yet another offer of credit monitoring from Capital One, I'm sure you will understand how total worthless this offer from Equifax truly is and how abysmally ridiculous the settlement offer was.
Breezy0488
August 01, 2019
I’ve gone onto all the sites recommended and still can’t fund where I sign up for free credit monitoring. After providing the 6 numbers of my SSN, was told I wasn’t impacted. Oh, really? All four of my credit cards have been hacked 2-4 times so far.
DC
August 01, 2019
This is a freaking joke. Equifax exposed sensitive data of over half the country's populace - I certainly won't trust their credit monitoring service. I have no desire to do any business with them, period. This is the kind of thing that SHOULD kill a company.
MzJuicy
August 01, 2019
That is not right what about the people like me who already has credit monitoring through Equifax! I am already paying for a family plan which is nearly $30 dollars a month? There would be nothing for me to opt into unless my money would get reimbursed back to me and that would sum up over the $125 payment. Not right at all make it even worse I already have a freeze on my credit with all of the Credit bureaus and I have a lock on all of the social securities in my house hold. Does not make sense am I the only person who can see something wrong with this?
FTC Staff
August 07, 2019

In reply to by MzJuicy

The FTC information at www.FTC.gov/Equifax explains that if your information was exposed in the Equifax breach, you can file a claim for cash payments for expenses you paid as a result of the breach and time you spent dealing with the breach.

You can file a claim for expenses like the cost of freezing or unfreezing your credit report and the cost of credit monitoring. Your claim for the cost of Equifax credit monitoring and related services you had between September 7, 2016, and September 7, 2017, is capped at 25 percent of the total amount you paid. Learn more at www.FTC.gov/Equifax.

Manny R
August 01, 2019
Sure they will monitor my credit, but how many months will it take for them to inform me if there is an issue? It took them months just to figure out there was a breach. I have no trust in Equifax. Just give me the $125 so I can be done with them.
“Affected Consumer”
August 01, 2019
As other commenters pointed out, it looks like FTC failed consumers in agreeing to only a $31 million “Alternative Reimbursement Compensation Cap.” Free credit monitoring isn’t “worth a lot more” when so many financial service companies already provide it in banking and credit card accounts. Glad to see FTC and CFPB at least still have the lights on, but is anybody home? (FTC, there’s no need to provide links to the same websites over again in response.)
Jaran
August 01, 2019
Why would any American/Canadian affected by the breach accept free credit monitoring from Equifax who let this happen due to outdated systems? They have zero credibility! All I want is their money for allowing this to happen which is their main job. They can keep their WORTHLESS credit monitoring! How ironic! Ask me, close the place and have just Experian and TransUnion who never had his happen to 1/2 of American adults!
FTC Staff
August 15, 2019

In reply to by Jaran

Under the settlement, you can request four years of free, three-bureau  credit monitoring from Experian.

Equifax will pay $300 million into a fund that will pay Experian to provide the four years of three-bureau credit monitoring services. If you request four years of Experian monitoring, you can also request six additional years of one-bureau monitoring by Equifax. There are other benefits for people whose information was exposed in the breach. Learn more at www.FTC.gov/Equifax and www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com.

Ashcanwin
August 01, 2019
Why was my comment not posted? Is the FTC practicing censorship? I simply said why is it that the attorneys are getting paid, the government is getting paid but the people who were harmed aren’t?
not-my-email-address
August 01, 2019
This is stupid. Free credit monitoring will be bureaucratic and ineffective. If the credit monitoring has problems or is ineffective, I can't complain because it's free. I already have PAID credit monitoring and frozen credit. Stop offering us useless garbage!!!!!
just me
August 01, 2019
You are asking people to take free credit monitoring, and saying it is "probably better than what they already have". Have you considered the backlash from those companies people are already buying monitoring from? You are asking them to leave a company they have been with, and saying the company they are with is probably not that "good"....think about that. Not a smart thing to say. Maybe Equifax should not have been let off so easily, most people I know already have credit monitoring.
Chris
August 02, 2019
How can I request that Equifax completely delete my personal information?
Alexander
August 17, 2019

In reply to by Chris

They reply yo every post but where is the reply to THIS?? How can we stop these companies from having our information in the first place? I dont want random c com companies with access to my SS#. No one should be allowed access to this without my consent and worse if they screw with it 125.00 isn't how much they should be charged.
rtl1984
August 02, 2019
I have 2 credit monitoring items FREE from my credit card companies. It sucks that just because you can't do your job well we get the short end of the stick.
Jack
August 02, 2019
$31 million divided 147 million ways works out to... almost $0.25/person. Who negotiated this settlement? Between the endless parade of data-breaches, and so many financial services companies throwing it in as a freebie promotional item, most of those affected already have credit monitoring so obviously few people were going to take that option. Also "All three nationwide credit reporting agencies" and "$1 million in identity theft insurance" are bare-minimum features of every credit monitoring service on the market. This is not some special beefed-up service we're being offered, it's an exact duplicate of what everyone already has.
American
August 02, 2019
Very poor job FTC. Equifax should have been forced to disband and the CEO should be held personally liable.
thisisbull
August 02, 2019
The FTC mislead consumers regarding the settlement. I no longer want to be part of the settlement. I demand an opt out option since I was provided incomplete information to sign up. As far as the monitoring, I already have monitoring because of prior data breaches. The FTC should be ashamed of its shady dealings.
More info
August 02, 2019
Where can I get more information about the " $1 million in identity theft insurance and individualized identity restoration services"? What do the insurance and services cover? Who is offering them? How long do I get them? I note that the settlement site currently doesn't even mention these supposed features when describing the cash vs. monitoring options.
FTC Staff
August 02, 2019

In reply to by More info

The settlement website is www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com.

Go to the FAQs (frequently asked questions) to learn about the identity theft insurance (FAQ #8) and free identity restoration services (FAQ #11).

The settlement website also has a link to important documents, including the full settlement agreement.

Obligation to …
August 02, 2019

In reply to by FTC Staff

Bridget, when will everyone receive a notice that they were hacked, i.e. from Equifax/FTC/Court?...the consumer does not have the legal duty to inquire. Or, stated otherwise, the info must be available since the class must confirm if someone is in/out of it....thus I and others wait affirmative notice! And the answer is?
FTC Staff
August 02, 2019

In reply to by Obligation to …

If you don't know if you were affected by the 2017 Equifax breach, use this look-up tool to see if your information was exposed. If you were affected, learn more about what you could claim at www.FTC.gov/Equifax.

Hello
August 02, 2019

In reply to by FTC Staff

Why do we have to give up some of our info to see if the info they have on us was exposed? Isn't that there obligation? Hello, anyone there?
Bman409
August 02, 2019
The "free credit monitoring" is literally worth NOTHING, because you can already get it for free through other companies like Credit Karma. its like someone giving you a free "phone book" what a scam.
AZKev
August 02, 2019
The incompetence of the FTC blares across America's media. We don't need free credit monitoring, we have four of them already due to other breaches. Since you didn't demand prison for the executive team, you needed to extract $5-10 Billion from this evil company. YOU FAILED! Our government bureaucrats failed our citizens once again.
Where is FTC
August 02, 2019
There is an individual obligation to notify a person when s/he was hacked. Why doesn’t the FTC enforce it. There is no reason for a consumer to “go see if they are affected!” The initial obligation is with Equifax and for FTC to enforce!
KC
August 02, 2019
As my choice of option for the Equifax data breach, I signed up for the free credit monitoring... do I actually get access to the monitoring service so I can check things out for myself? Am I automatically registered through Experian or am I waiting on a specific email with a link to Experian to register or something? I haven't seen or heard anything about it. Not sure if there was supposed to be a confirmation screen or anything after I did the initial sign up because my browser froze up after I submitted my form.
FTC Staff
August 02, 2019

In reply to by KC

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 provide you with an activation code and link to the Experian website where you can enroll and activate your credit monitoring services.

Owen
August 02, 2019
I prefer not to use Equifax credit monitoring service. That is the fox guarding the hen house. I prefer to pay Experian.
FTC Staff
August 02, 2019

In reply to by Owen

FAQ #8 on the settlement website www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com says settlement class members may submit a claim to enroll in at least four years of three-bureau credit monitoring services, provided by Experian, at no cost. Go to www.FTC.gov/Equifax to learn what benefits an affected person can file a claim for, including:

  • free credit monitoring and identity theft protection services
  • cash payments capped at $20,000 per person for expenses you paid as a result of the breach and time you spent dealing with the breach
NY Michael
August 02, 2019
Hi: Based on the FTC's failure to anticipate that most affected individuals would rationally choose cash over credit monitoring services (which I for one already have because of OPM's failures), could the FTC explain in detail its reasons for believing 31 million dollars was adequate to cover this particular claim? Thanks.
Mike MacPhail
August 02, 2019
I already have free credit monitoring from another data breach. Thumbs down to the FTC for negotiating a weak settlement that offers little if any meaningful compensation to the millions harmed by Equifax’s egregious negligence, then misleading the public about the terms!
Gpol42
August 02, 2019
Where is the rest of the 700 million dollars going?
FTC Staff
August 05, 2019

In reply to by Gpol42

Read the FTC press release for details about the proposed settlement agreement, including:

  • Equifax Inc. agreed to pay at least $575 million, and potentially up to $700 million, as part of a global settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and 50 U.S. states and territories
  • As part of the proposed settlement, Equifax will pay $300 million to a fund that will provide affected consumers with credit monitoring services. The fund will also compensate consumers who bought credit or identity monitoring services from Equifax and paid other out-of-pocket expenses as a result of the 2017 data breach.  Equifax will add up to $125 million to the fund if the initial payment is not enough to compensate consumers for their losses
  • The company also has agreed to pay $175 million to 48 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, as well as $100 million to the CFPB in civil penalties.
disbelief
August 02, 2019
Dear FTC, This is ridiculous. Equifax should provide ten(10) years of Identify monitoring to every single one of the people who are at risk for free, and a check for $125 as an apology. If they do not agree to this, then they should close down.
fed_contractor
August 02, 2019
I already have credit monitoring from the other two companies and the US OPM all of whom lost my data. What good would a third be? There should be rethink of the limit on the settlement. This needs to be a company ending event for Equifax.
Michael
August 02, 2019
Why would I want the company that is responsible for the breach in my privacy, security, and data to monitor my credit for me? They are the reason I am in this mess, because they systematically built a profile of highly sensitive personal information (to profit from) and then allowed others to steal it.
madscanner
August 02, 2019
shouldn't equifax have been paying a monitoring agency all along to monitor our personal information ? or monitoring it themselves ? and how do we know if the company hired to monitor my credit for 4 years is trustworthy, has ever prevented id theft even once, and/ or won't have a data breach themselves???
Disappointed b…
August 02, 2019
I, like many others, have credit monitoring already. Indeed I have some provided 'free' following multiple other breaches. Perhaps if this was the first large scale situation like this the credit monitoring would be more enticing but you and everyone else knows that is the typical easy way out for companies to offer after they expose our information. The overwhelming response demonstrates the scale of the breach and the consumers impacted and should not be a surprise to anyone, least of all those involved in creating this settlement. Frankly as Equifax is responsible for the breach, anyone impacted by it should have access to choose the cash option if they wish. 125$ is chump change to a corporation as large as this, and the should pay for the fact that the information was leaked in the first place. Seems more to me like someone made a miscalculation or rather a cynical calculation that none of us in the public are really paying attention and thus the number filing claims would be smaller. This kind of weak and non-consumer oriented response to repeated incompetence demonstrated by many corporations is a large contributing factor to why so many of us 'average' citizens feel absolutely cynical about most aspects of public and private life. If I exposed data in my professional career, it would be proportionally a whole different story to what wealthy influential companies are able to get away with. It's just not fair.