The Federal Trade Commission said today that there is "overwhelming" interest in a settlement agreement with Equifax and that consumers who are looking for a previously announced payout of up to $ 125 may be disappointed.
The agency said this month that it had reached a $ 700 million agreement with the credit reporting agency about a massive breach of private data in 2017. As part of the settlement, consumers whose data were compromised could request up to $ 125 or request free credit monitoring services. The potential for a quick payout generated great interest, but only $ 31 million of the settlement was reserved for cash payouts, meaning that each payout could be much less than $ 125, depending on how many people request it.
In a blog post today, the FTC tempered expectations. "A large number of cash claims instead of credit checks mean only one thing: every person who takes the money option only receives a small amount," the agency said. "Nowhere near the $ 125 they could have received if not a huge number of claims had been submitted."
The Equifax breach revealed the personal information of 147 million people, giving many consumers a chance to get some money. But as the FTC indicates, "all 147 million people" can make a claim to that $ 31 million, and many apparently have that. The agency says that "millions" have has already submitted a claim online.
The agency encourages consumers to consider the free credit monitoring option instead. "You can still choose the cash option on the claim form," the agency writes a frequently asked questions about the settlement, "but you will be disappointed with the amount you receive and you will not receive free credit monitoring."