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FTC Tells Consumers They’ll Be Disappointed By Equifax Cash Payout

By Scott Stewart

The Daily Record

   The Federal Trade Commission warned consumers last week that an overwhelming public response to a settlement with Equifax will result in much smaller checks for those who request a cash payout.

   A news release from the agency encouraged consumers to instead choose free credit monitoring from Equifax and the two other major credit reporting bureaus. It said an email would be sent those who have selected the cash option will give them a chance to change their request for compensation.

   Equifax settled with the FTC, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and 50 U.S. states and territories, including Nebraska, last month. Nebraska estimated it would receive just over $1 million as part of the $575 million settlement designated for state coffers.

   That $575 million settlement also included $31 million for cash payments to affected customer and another $300 million to pay for credit monitoring services. Equifax also agreed to compensation for consumers who bought credit or identity monitoring services and who paid other out-of-pocket expenses resulting from the company’ 2017 data breach, plus it will add up to $125 million in additional payments if the initial fund is not sufficient to cover losses.

   Robert Schoshinski, assistant director of the FTC’s Division of Privacy and Identity Protection, said in a blog post that millions of people have already submitted claims, but many are asking for cash instead of credit monitoring.

   The result, Schoshinski said, is “each person who takes the money option will wind up only getting a small amount of money” –short of the $125 they could have received without “such an enormous number of claims filed.”

   The agency is urging consumers to instead ask for the credit monitoring, which guarantees four years of monitoring service from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion plus a $1 million identity theft insurance benefit.

   “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,” the agency said in a news release.

   For more information, or to see if you were affected or to file a claim, visit ftc.gov/Equifax.

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