Overwhelmed by requests from consumers seeking compensation related to the 2017 giant data breach at Equifax Credit Office, the Federal Trade Commission recommends that people accept free credit monitoring instead of cash.
In a blog post published Wednesday, the agency announced that due to the high volume of requests, the FTC would not be able to offer $ 125 to consumers if data were hacked, the upper limit of what was initially offered. Instead, the Commission recommends that consumers seek credit monitoring services.
"The public response to the settlement has been overwhelming," wrote Robert Schoshinski, assistant director of the FTC's Privacy and Identity Protection Division, citing an agreement reached with Equifax last week.
As a result, "every person who takes the money option will liquidate only a small amount," he added. "Nowhere near $ 125 they could have gotten had there not been such a huge number of claims made."
About 147 million people were affected by Equifax's breach, which resulted in the release of people's names, birth dates, Social Security numbers and other identifying information.
On July 22, the FTC, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 50 states and the US territories agreed on a global settlement with Equifax that promised payments of up to $ 700 million, including fines. But according to Mr. Schoshinsky's post, only $ 31 million was set aside for financial compensation for affected consumers, not enough to meet cash requirements.
Instead of a cash payment, consumers are encouraged to apply for free credit monitoring alternatives, which Mr. Schoshinski noted, are worth hundreds of dollars a year. But some readers of the agency's post Wednesday were anything but happy with the proposal.
"Seems Equifax is going too easy for the mess they did," read the one anonymous response in the comments section. "Sounds like Equifax dealers out danced the other way!"
Another anonymous commenter asked, "Did anyone forget to do the math?"