INDIANAPOLIS — Don’t hold your breath if you’re hoping for a $125 check from the Equifax settlement.
As Call 6 Investigates reported last week, consumers were eligible for free credit monitoring or up to $125 if consumers already have credit monitoring.
However, the Federal Trade Commission now says the response has been so overwhelming, consumers will only get a fraction of the money.
“A large number of claims for cash instead of credit monitoring means only one thing: each person who takes the money option will wind up only getting a small amount of money,” the FTC said. “Nowhere near the $125 they could have gotten if there hadn’t been such an enormous number of claims filed.”
The settlement allocates a $31 million pot of money for the credit monitoring payments.
The FTC is encouraging consumers to ask for and get free credit monitoring.
147 million people can get the free service, according to the FTC.
“If you haven’t submitted your claim yet, think about opting for the free credit monitoring instead,” the FTC said. “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, and it comes with up to $1 million in identity theft insurance and individualized identity restoration services.”
If you’ve already submitted a claim for the credit monitoring related cash payment, look for an email from the settlement administrator asking you for the name of the credit monitoring service you already have.
If you change your mind, you’ll have a chance to switch to the free credit monitoring.
The FTC says you can still recoup money if you spent time trying to recover from fraud caused by the data breach, or if you spent time trying to avoid identity theft because of the incident.
For example, if you placed credit freezes or alerts on your accounts, purchased credit monitoring services, you can be compensated $25 per hour for up to 20 hours.
If you claim 10 hours or less, you must describe the actions you took in response to the data breach and the time each action took.
If you claim more than 10 hours total, you must describe the actions you took in response to the data breach and include supporting documents showing fraud, identity theft, or other misuse of your personal information, according to the website.
“The settlement has a larger pool of money for just those people,” the FTC said. “If you’re one of them, use your documents to submit your claim.”
Just go to this website and click on “File a Claim.”
If you’re not sure whether you qualify for money or credit monitoring, just click on “Find Out If Your Information Was Impacted.”