Not Everyone May Be Getting Their $125 Equifax Settlement

More controversy is coming from the Equifax data breach story. It seems that not everyone will be getting their $125 settlement.

The story about the Equifax data breach just keeps going and going and going. In 2017, it was first reported that hackers were able to get into the companies systems. In 2018, we found out that the breach affected a total of 147 million people.

After a prison sentence was handed down to one of their executives, the company settled out of a US court for $700 million.

Shortly after the settlement was announced, word started circulating that victims of the breach could be entitled to $125. A webpage was set up so people can claim their settlement money. While some might question whether or not this is enough money, there is the possibility that people may not even be getting it at all.

According to Patch, the company is saying that the money set aside for settlements is being depleted quickly:

After Equifax offered victims of its data breach the option of up to $125 in cash or free credit-monitoring as part of a settlement, the company experienced what authorities called an “overwhelming response.” Millions visited the data breach settlement site online to file claims in the week since the page went live, the Federal Trade Commission reported.

“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, nowhere near the $125 they could have gotten if there hadn’t been such an enormous number of claims filed,” according to the FTC.

According to the settlement, the $31 million will be divided equally among those who are eligible, so as more people ask for the payout, the amount will decrease for each person.

Another report from the Thrillist is pointing out that authorities are encouraging victims to go for the free credit monitoring instead:

That said, the FTC recommends that impacted people should take up the offer for free credit monitoring instead — the bureaucratic equivalent to store credit as a refund.

Robert Schoshinski, assistant director of the FTC’s division of privacy and identity protection, said in a statement that people who take the money option will only get a little bit of cash, or “nowhere near the $125 they could have gotten if there hadn’t been such an enormous number of claims filed.”

Schoshinski added that the free credit monitoring option is worth hundreds of dollars a year. And it’s actually a pretty good deal, though I’m sure many of us planned to forget the breach ever happened and live within our flawed cybersecurity system in ignorant bliss. With a fat, $125-filled wallet.

This does raise an interesting legal question: If the money set aside runs out and someone claims they want the settlement money instead of the monitoring, is that person legally entitled to the cash? If so, can that person litigate for that money in the first place? Whether or not it would be worth it would be another question entirely of course.

Either way, it looks like the money is running dry quickly. So, if one wants to take the cash, waiting may not be the greatest idea in the world.

Further information: the Equifax settlement website

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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