The 147 million Americans whose personal information was compromised by a cyberattack on Equifax got an offer last week from the credit-reporting giant: Take $125 in cash or six months of free credit monitoring.
The chance at a quick $125 made headlines across the web. The problem? Your actual payout is likely to be a lot smaller.
Last week, the Federal Trade Commission announced a $700 million settlement with Equifax — with $425 million (after legal and government fees) to be split among the 147 million people whose data was exposed.
To secure your share, visit Equifax’s official settlement site, which proclaims “you may be eligible for a cash payment of $125.”
But beware of the fine print.
That $425 million is being split among other credit-monitoring companies that will offer breach victims free services, and a mix of those who can prove they’ve had substantial financial losses as a result of the Equifax data breach and those who cannot.
Most people — who won’t be able to provide all the documentation to prove financial losses — are left to split $31 million.
Boiling down the fine print, that means the settlement will be worth $125 cash per person only if 248,000 people claim it. If every one of the 147 million eligible users asks for their piece of the pie, they’ll get a grand total of 21 cents.
Still want to claim whatever cash your slice is worth? You’ll have to prove that you already have a credit-monitoring service. Otherwise, you’ll be assigned the six-month credit-monitoring option.
Make sure to have this covered before filing your claim — either by signing up for a free service such as Credit Karma or utilizing one you might be eligible for through your credit car or financial planning software.
You have until Jan. 22, 2020 to file the claim through the class-action case. Or, if 21 cents isn’t enough of a payday for you, you have until Nov. 19 this year to pursue your own legal case against Equifax.