FTC Urges Consumers to Take Credit Monitoring in Equifax Settlement
Last week, Equifax agreed to a settlement up to $700 million to cover repercussions of their 2017 data breach. As part of the settlement, consumers are able to choose between four years of free credit monitoring from all three bureaus, or a $125 cash settlement.
The problem with the cash settlement is that consumers may not actually receive the full $125. Of the $700 million set aside for the settlement, only $31 million is allotted for cash claims. That means there is only enough money for 248,000 people to receive the $125. The breach impacted 147 million.
The Federal Trade Commission is urging consumers to consider the credit monitoring alternative instead. The organization says, “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.”
It’s important to note the credit monitoring will be provided by Experian, not Equifax. The settlement does not specify which credit monitoring program it will be, but the features align with Experian CreditWorks. This service costs $4.99 for the first month and $24.99 per month after that. That adds up to nearly $1,180 over the course of four years.
If you have an existing credit monitoring program that you trust, you may prefer whatever cash settlement you can get, even if it is less than $125. If you do not have a credit monitoring program, this may be a good opportunity to have coverage for all three bureaus for the next few years.
Regardless of what you choose, you can still apply for additional funds to cover credit freezes, accountant costs, time spent in identity recovery, and other expenses incurred as a result of the breach. To file a claim, visit EquifaxBreachSettlement.com.