FTC: Equifax might run out of settlement money

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WJBF/KSNT) – The Federal Trade Commission warned that people who are trying to get the $125 check from Equifax following the data breach might not get all of the money.

In 2017, hackers broke through Equifax’s security system and exposed highly personal data that affected more than 147 million customers, about 56 percent of Americans, making it the largest ever breach of consumer data.

After a settlement was reached, up to $425 million was set aside to help people affected by the data breach. They had the option of signing up for a free credit monitoring service, or if they already had a credit monitoring service, they could file to receive a check for $125.

Because of a large interest in the payment option, the FTC said that people who chose this might not get the full $125.

“Because the amount of money set aside for the cash payment option is capped at $31 million, consumers who select that option may not receive the $125 they had expected,” the FTC said.

The FTC is encouraging people who were affected to opt for the credit monitoring option, but said that those who have already submitted a claim for the check should keep an eye out for an email from a settlement administrator.

“They’ll be asking you for the name of the credit monitoring service you already have, the FTC said. “Or, if you want to change your mind, you’ll have a chance to switch to the free credit monitoring. You can also email the settlement administrator, JND, at info@EquifaxBreachSettlement.”

“Unfortunately, the effects of this data breach could be felt for years to come,” Attorney General Chris Carr said. “For this reason, we worked hard throughout settlement negotiations with Equifax to ensure that Georgia consumers had the option to select free credit monitoring services for a full decade. This long-term option is worth hundreds of dollars and offers comprehensive protections, which we believe are important for every consumer affected by the breach.”

We urge affected Georgia consumers to look closely at the protections afforded by the free credit monitoring service, which comes with identity theft insurance and restoration services. For consumers who have already chosen the cash option, the settlement administrator will e-mail those consumers and provide them with the opportunity to either (1) submit additional information, OR (2) utilize the free credit monitoring service instead. Consumers can also contact the settlement administrator directly.

In a blog post, the FTC noted 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.

The settlement had a separate portion of money allocated to reimburse consumers who paid for extra services after their data was compromised.

To see if you have been affected and to file a claim, click here.

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