FTC on Equifax settlement: Take credit monitoring over cash

Equifax breach How to find out if your data was comprised and get a free $125

Equifax breach How to find out if your data was comprised and get a free $125

Close-up of the upper corner of a consumer credit report from the credit bureau Equifax, with text reading Credit File and Personal Identification, on a light wooden surface, September 11, 2017.

The rush to get in on the cash option comes as the settlement spread like wildfire on the internet - including by politicians like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez - who may have inadvertently pushed down the amount that people will actually get.

The payments are part of a total $425 million settlement from the data breach.

With at least 4.5 million already clamoring for the cash option, the implied payout for each respondent now stands at $6.89 and falling. In fact, the agency says the credit monitoring is arguably worth more than the cash, given that the service monitors your credit report at all three national credit reporting agencies - and it even includes up to $1 million in identity theft insurance and identity restoration services.

The FTC on Wednesday said the public response to the $700 million settlement it reached with Equifax has been "overwhelming".

"You can still choose the cash option on the claim form, but you will be disappointed with the amount you receive", the FTC said.

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Correction: An alert was sent for this story that inaccurately reported the number of people who have applied for the payments.

Equifax will pay another $175 million in fines to be split up among the 50 attorneys general who agreed to settle their suits, representing 48 states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico, and $100 million in penalties to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The website to file claim is now open to victims who wish to file a claim for having their data stolen.

It seems that when given the choice between free credit monitoring or cash, guess what everyone asked for? Or if someone already has credit monitoring services in place, they could opt for the cash payment.

It's unclear how many claims have been submitted so far to the settlement administrator, JDN, but an FTC spokeswoman said more than 4.5 million consumers have visited the agency's site about the settlement. Here is the website where you file the claim.

If you're not sure whether you qualify for money or credit monitoring, just click on "Find Out If Your Information Was Impacted".

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