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You will probably get almost nothing from the Equifax settlement



Equifax CEO Mark Begor
Photo: Mark Wilson (Getty)

Always the parade calculator, the Federal Trade Commission announced today that with so many Equifax violations victims choosing cash payments in Instead of free credit monitoring, each one of them will probably only get "a small amount."

Given the amount of data the company managed to abuse in 2017, $ 125 per victim is an absolute amount for a penalty. On the other hand, massive companies like Equifax often emerge completely unscathed from such incidents (or pay a fine directly to the US Treasury instead of the people they harmed), so we were pretty worked up over the prospect of an unexpected $ 125 fall last week.

You can buy many things for $ 125! Unfortunately, even this was apparently too good to be true.

In a blog post uniquely titled "Equifax data breach: Pick free credit monitoring", the FTC noted that while it was "delighted that millions of people" made a claim:

[T] He pots with money paying for [the cash] part of the settlement is $ 31 million. A large number of cash claims rather than credit monitoring means only one thing: every person who takes the money option will liquidate only a small amount. Nowhere near $ 125 they could have received had there not been such a huge number of claims.

Oh good! For a sense of proportionality, the Equifax breach affected an estimated 147 million people and the cash settlement pool is $ 31 million.

You can see how the second number, which is smaller, would be quite small if it was divided by the first number. It's just math! Less than a dollar per person if all claims are filled out and each creditor chooses cash – a net payment of 21 cents, to be exact. And it is not something that counts anyone claiming further loss due to identity theft or other adversity.

The FTC, which is really pushing this whole credit monitoring case, notes that we greedy creditors will have the opportunity to switch to credit monitoring preference — Composed from the three national credit bureaus, which, if you remember, includes Equifax, the whole reason why we're in this mess – which the agency estimates "will be hundreds of dollars a year" instead:

For those who have already filed for this cash payment, look for an email from the settlement administrator. They ask you for the name of the credit monitoring service you already have. Or, if you want to change your mind, you have a chance to switch to free credit monitoring.

Money? Oh, no one for me. Thanks, Federal Trade Commission, for showing me the light.


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