The Equifax Settlement - Nope You're Not Getting $125 If You Picked Door Number 1

It was big news last week. The FTC announced that Equifax and FTC settled on a deal over the Equifax breach that affected over 140,000,000 people. Users whose information were leaked could elect to receive either a $125 cash settlement or 10 years of identity monitoring. Turns out that way more people wanted the cash but the payout pool was only funded for $31 million dollars. With the huge interest in the cash payout, the actual amount will be reduced by the total amount of claims for cash and that is likely to be way less than $125. To get to that figure there would have to be no more than 248,000 claimants. The number of claimants is said to be huge --way over the amount allocated. Who knows? You may get enough compensation for a burger and if very lucky a Beyond or Impossible Burger. Or you might not even get enough for a large soda. Breaking out Excel and dividing 31 Million by 140,000,000 = .22 or 22 cents. No soda for you. Well maybe not everyone will file. Of course, the limitation was noted in the fine print in the terms of the agreement but no one reads those. What’s more curious is the FTC usually frowns on burying important terms in the fine print. So not sure what went wrong there. The chances are good that you, me and 140,000,000 others are eligible.

Would you have taken the cash or identity monitoring?

Breach victims who had their identities compromised AND who had actual financial out of pocket damages up to $20,000 are probably still covered (unless they used the same lame calculator).

According to The Washington Post "All told, the settlements hashed out between Equifax and state and federal authorities included $300 million to compensate affected consumers, though that fund could grow to as much as $425 million if the claims drain the initial $300 million. Equifax also must pay $175 million to states and $100 million to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

If there’s anything left in the $300 million fund after the 4½-year extended claim period, any unused money can be applied toward lifting the $31 million cap, the FTC spokesman said."

Many consumers pushed back on the FTC’s suggestion that victims take free credit monitoring. In a comment posted beneath the FTC’s post, one claimant said “my data has been compromised numerous times and I’ve received numerous free credit monitoring compensations.”

More on this in Washington Post

The Equifax Settlement Administrator is changing the deal or so it appears. You need to amend your claim by October 15th or be eliminated from the settlement deal. If you filed a claim, you should have gotten an email from the Equifax Breach Settlement Administrator notifying you of the change in terms and asking you to amend your claim.
The email will be sent from Equifax Breach Settlement Administrator

If you recall, you either opted for $125 cash or credit monitoring or if you had actual identify damages you could claim up to $20,000.00 for out of cash pocket expenses. This second step of verifying and amending the claim is a good way to winnow down the cash pool —because if you don’t respond by October 15, 2019 you will be eliminated from the settlement group according to an email sent out several days ago.

No Doubt This Urgent Notice Will Spawn More Phishing
When you send out emails with urgent notices of cash payments you always provide numerous opportunities for scammers who love to take advantage of these kinds of urgent messages. So be on the lookout for spoofed email and fake letters leading to evil twin phishing sites. So be sure to double-check you are going to the official site.

In this case, the official settlement site is listed in the FTC posting below. You should note that only $31 million dollars were allocated for all 147 million potential claimants. According to the article in the Washington Post dated August 1,2019.

Equifax promised up to $125 for the hack. Now, the FTC says you’ll get ‘nowhere near’ that amount.

“An FTC spokesman said that the $31 million reimbursement pool was part of the class-action settlement the agency adopted in its Equifax order. But the agency viewed the credit-monitoring option “as the primary source of relief for affected consumers” because it was the “best source of future protection from identity theft.” (Equifax referred questions about the settlement to federal and state regulators.)”

“The option to obtain reimbursement for alternative credit monitoring, as set forth originally in the class-action settlement, was never intended to be a cash payout for all affected consumers,” the FTC said.

If you do choose the cash payment, you are betting that enough people will drop out or be eliminated to leave some cash left in the pot. In August, The Washington Post reported over 4.5 million people visited the site in the first week of the announcement. If you do the math, if all 147 million people in the breach filed for the cash option there probably wouldn’t be enough left for a stamp. For those who actually lost money in out of pocket expenses due to the breach, I sure hope they are covered.

The actual email will have your unique claim number.
Header of Email:
“Your Equifax Claim: You Must Act by October 15, 2019, or Your Claim for Alternative Compensation Will Be Denied”

You must either verify or amend your claim by October 15, 2019.

If you do not, your claim for alternative compensation will be denied.

To verify your claim for alternative compensation, you must provide the name of your credit monitoring service that you had in place when you filed your claim.
- OR -
• You can amend your claim to request free credit monitoring instead of alternative compensation.

  • Here they tell you your chances of receiving anywhere near $125 is very unlikely.

"… The amount you receive in connection with your alternative compensation claim may be significantly reduced depending on how many valid claims are ultimately submitted by other class members for this relief. Based on the number of potentially valid claims that have been submitted to date, payments of these benefits likely will be substantially lowered and will be distributed on a proportional basis if the settlement becomes final. Depending on the number of valid claims that are filed, the amount you receive for alternative compensation may be a small percentage of your initial claim."

Please note that if you do not take action by October 15, 2019, your claim for alternative compensation will be denied.

The FTC also posted an update here. It is dated September.
If you have a claim number:
FTC Website

Have something to say about this article? Comment below by replying to this message.

Unhappy with the Equifax settlement 200,000 victims have joined together to file a petition. Not sure this carries much weight or will affect the outcome. What do you think?
200K Sign Petition Against Equifax Data Breach Settlement

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