FTC asks Equifax data breach victims to opt for credit monitoring instead of cash

Just last week FOX 4’s Steve Noviello reported on the $700 million settlement in the Equifax data breach case from 2017.

Affected consumers are eligible for free credit monitoring, payments for time spent battling identity theft or $125 if they already have monitored credit.

But after an overwhelming response, the Federal Trade Commission issued a nation-wide alert to consumers that essentially asks people to stop taking the cash option.

It seems that when given the choice between free credit monitoring or cash, guess what everyone asked for?

The problem is the portion of the $700 million settlement that’s earmarked for payment to folks who already have credit monitoring is just $31 million.

That’s only enough to cover that $125 payment in full to about 250,000 people.

The FTC said because there is no limit to how many people can take the cash option; payment won’t be the full $125. Instead, an equal division of the $31 million could end up being very little.

The government agency is encouraging people to change their minds and change their choice to take the monitoring instead of the cash, noting that there is no limit to the number of people who can get free monitoring because it’s free for Equifax to administer.

The FTC said the freebie is worth far more than the $125 originally offered.

Consumers who have already submitted a claim can lookout for an email from the settlement administrator. They will be asking for proof of existing credit monitoring and giving people the chance to switch.

For those who paid out-of-pocket to recover from the breach, there is still money under the settlement for reimbursement.