Take Free Credit Monitoring Instead of $125 in Equifax Lawsuit Settlement, Says Federal Trade Commission

“Perhaps my math is incorrect; but $505,000,000.00 divided by 147,000,000 people comes out to almost $3.44 per person — assuming that everyone who qualifies for the settlement class requests payment. I am not sure how anyone will get paid $125.00 — even if every penny became available for qualified members of the settlement who request that option; and even if a significant number of people either choose the free credit monitoring services or to opt out of the settlement altogether to pursue their own lawsuits.”

Take Free Credit Monitoring Instead of $125 in Equifax Lawsuit Settlement, Says Federal Trade Commission

The paragraph you just read was from this article pertaining to details of the Equifax lawsuit settlement, which I wrote on Wednesday, July 24, 2019 — and now, the Federal Trade Commission of the United States confirmed earlier today that you will likely not receive a payment of $125.00 if you opt for cash instead of free monitoring of your credit.

“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”, according to this article from the Federal Trade Commission of the United States. “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.”

Nothing was addressed in that article pertaining to those people who may also be eligible for the cash payments of up to a maximum of $20,000.00 — although they can probably forget about that, too — for:

  • The time you spent remedying fraud, identity theft, or other misuse of your personal information caused by the data breach — or purchasing credit monitoring or freezing credit reports — up to 20 total hours at $25.00 per hour.
  • Out-of-pocket losses resulting from the data breach.
  • Up to 25 percent of the cost of Equifax credit or identity monitoring products for which you paid in the year prior to the announcement of the data breach.

Summary

Am I the only person who believes that $125.00 is an absolute bargain as punishment for the result of irresponsible handling of sensitive data by Equifax? For the potential problems — including violation of privacy, possible financial issues and even identity theft, which is difficult to resolve — the average consumer faces because of the breach of what is supposed to be confidential and secured information, I think Equifax should pay significantly more per person.

I realized that the terms and stipulations of the settlement of a lawsuit cannot be amended once it is agreed upon by all parties; but the breach of sensitive data is becoming all too commonplace these days. The ink has not yet dried on the Equifax lawsuit settlement; and now comes a lawsuit against Capital One for its culpability in not proactively protecting enough the sensitive data of greater than 100 million of its customers. Companies wind up getting away with little more than a slap on the wrist; the lawyers are getting wealthier; and the poor consumer gets pennies on the dollar for his or her troubles — if he or she is lucky.

I have one question: how do we know that the free credit monitoring services are safe and that our sensitive personal data may not eventually be compromised with them? What guarantees are there to the average — and innocent — consumer? What if a data breach occurs with one of them?

The official slogan for the Federal Trade Commission of the United States is “Protecting America’s Consumers” in big bold letters…

…but somehow, I do not feel all that protected when it comes to my personal information. There is something really wrong with this system…

Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

2 thoughts on “Take Free Credit Monitoring Instead of $125 in Equifax Lawsuit Settlement, Says Federal Trade Commission”

  1. Barry Graham says:

    Why would I need free credit monitoring when I am already getting it from at least two of the other recent data breaches?

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      That is an excellent point, Barry Graham

      …and the way these massive data breaches keep occurring, we will all probably eventually have free credit monitoring for life.

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