(AP) – The Federal Trade Commission is urging consumers affected by Equifax’s 2017 data breach to consider signing up for the free credit monitoring offered as part of the settlement. A new FTC blog post notes that because of high interest in the alternative cash payment under the settlement, consumers who choose this option might end up getting far less than $125.
The settlement with Equifax announced on July 22 included at least $300 million and potentially up to $425 million to help consumers recover from the breach. Among the benefits available to consumers affected by the breach is free credit monitoring services or, alternatively, a cash payment if they already have credit monitoring.
The FTC blog post notes that the public response to the settlement has been overwhelming. 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.
For those who have not submitted a claim, the FTC is recommending that affected consumers consider choosing the free credit monitoring service, which is worth hundreds of dollars and 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) switch to the free credit monitoring service. Consumers can also contact the settlement administrator directly.