Skip to main content

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


It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) public records system, and user names also are part of the FTC’s computer user records system. We may routinely use these records as described in the FTC’s Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.

The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
  • We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

Simple ?
September 05, 2019
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?
FTC Staff
September 06, 2019

In reply to by Simple ?

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.

Rio
September 09, 2019

In reply to by FTC Staff

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."
FTC Staff
September 23, 2019

In reply to by Rio

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.

 

my email is my…
September 05, 2019
How can I tell if my account has been breached and if I am entitled to anything. Tom L
FTC Staff
September 06, 2019

In reply to by my email is my…

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.

nemesis
September 05, 2019
I already have this as part of Norton. Looks like you failed at what you do best.
Fortworth
September 05, 2019
Now you tell us there's a problem with the cash option after we were originally told that we would receive $125.00, and we have already taken this option? I already have a credit monitoring service. Maybe this should trigger another group settlement.
ABullock
September 05, 2019
I already have protection coverage from all three credit consumer, what do i get for my worries.
Joseph Caudill
September 05, 2019
Help email compromised and afraid they settled for 125$ And I only put one on and not for the 125$ I did a big claim
Watkinsanthonyc
September 06, 2019
I had 33.2 billion dollars. in my name
Ethaniel
September 06, 2019
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.
shan
September 06, 2019
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.
DavidR
September 06, 2019
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.
SM
September 06, 2019
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!!
junqueisus
September 06, 2019
How do you know if your info was breached?
Disgusted with…
September 06, 2019
FTC needs to strip giving rights to these credit report bureaus because they are scam to the government. I am disgusted that my private information I gave to car loaner company, Chase.com, was passed on to the bank's third party and that third party sent back to me with another person's name on it. I was flabbergasted with the way businesses are conducted these days. Sure, get a complimentary FREE credit monitoring service after my private personal info has been exposed by your bureaus, how about these credit bureaus close down their business of handling other people's PPI.
Confused
September 07, 2019
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
poolprof
September 07, 2019
Currently, I have Lifelock's most expensive package. Will the credit monitoring and identity theft insurance provided in the settlement be as good as that offered by Lifelock? If it is, am I allowed to opt for that so long as I drop my lifelock coverage? Thanks!
Rob
September 07, 2019
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.
TDArk
September 08, 2019
I've written my Congresswoman expressing my disgust with the FTC in negotiating this terrible settlement. I've asked her to have Congress investigate the FTC to determine whether the FTC gave too much of a sweetheart deal to the credit reporting agencies. I've asked that she ask Congress to reopen the settlement and hold the FTC and the credit reporting agencies accountable. I encourage everyone to write their Congress person and request the same. The FTC must be held accountable for this terrible settlement!!
Mike P
September 08, 2019
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.
CX22
September 08, 2019
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.
GrandmaV
September 08, 2019
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.
Sher
September 09, 2019
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.
FTC Staff
September 13, 2019

In reply to by Sher

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.

claimant
September 09, 2019
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.
An engineer
September 09, 2019
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.
ED in NY
September 09, 2019
I DO HAD ALREADY A CREDIT MONITORING SERVICES "THANKS" TO ANOTHER SECURITY BREACH WITH A DIFFERENT COMPANY, WHY SHOULD I TAKE ANOTHER????.
MS
September 09, 2019
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.
SKim
September 10, 2019
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.
FTC Staff
September 13, 2019

In reply to by SKim

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.

An
September 10, 2019
Signed up for credit monitoring months ago and I have heard nothing!! They were suppose to send an email.
FTC Staff
September 10, 2019

In reply to by An

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.

marcdavid
September 10, 2019
How do we find out if our info has been breached?
FTC Staff
September 19, 2019

In reply to by marcdavid

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

Sher
September 10, 2019
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?
FTC Staff
September 12, 2019

In reply to by Sher

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.

Sher
September 12, 2019

In reply to by FTC Staff

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.
NHA
September 11, 2019
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?
FTC Staff
September 13, 2019

In reply to by NHA

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.

Concerned and …
September 11, 2019
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?
FTC Staff
September 23, 2019

In reply to by Concerned and …

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.

Don't stevenz9…
September 13, 2019
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
Private Investigator
September 14, 2019
What occurs to me is that the level of cybersecurity that Equifax had in place to protect their data was far from adequate. If there is any company that needed the very best tools to thwart a skilled hacker it was Equifax. The very nature of their business necessitated that they maintain cutting edge safeguards to protect their data on an ongoing basis. Since this did not happen one is left to surmise what the reasons were that allowed this fiasco to occur. It goes without saying that their incompetent management bears the ultimate responsibility for this happening. Apparently the dollar cost involved to protect the private information entrusted to them was too much to bear. These people we too CHEAP to authorize the funds necessary to do things right. However, these individuals did spend the money required for the best legal representation so that the consequences to their actions would be inconsequential. When all is said and done there should have been criminal charges filed against the principals of this company with the end result of long prison sentences being administered.
MsAeb333
September 16, 2019
When will we be contacted about the free monitoring? I'm already paying $22/mo & it would be nice to kick in asap
FTC Staff
September 19, 2019

In reply to by MsAeb333

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.

no slobbering
September 18, 2019
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.
no slobbering
September 18, 2019
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.
cyclerama
September 20, 2019
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.