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Equifax data breach: The truth about that $125 settlement payment – CNET

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Angela Lang/CNET

If your personal information was exposed as part of the 2017 Equifax data breach, the $125 payout you can request may not come close to compensating you for the grief you went through to recover from the hack. Still, it’s something. However, in the first week so many people showed interest in filing a claim for the cash payout that the FTC has cautioned that if everyone eligible does request the money option, the benefit will be “nowhere near the $125.”

The reason, according to the FTC, is that while Equifax has agreed to pay up to $700 million to compensate the 147 million victims of the data breach, the pool of money set aside for the $125 payout is $31 million. Instead of receiving an amount much less than the $125, you have the option of getting 10 years of free credit monitoring. And that is the choice the FTC recommends you pick: “Frankly, the free credit monitoring is worth a lot more — the market value would be hundreds of dollars a year,” the FTC said. “And this monitoring service is probably stronger and more helpful than any you may have already.”

As part of the settlement reached between the FTC and the free credit report company, you can also file claims to be reimbursed for time spent recovering from fraud and identity theft, for money spent to protect yourself from the breach and for the cost of Equifax credit monitoring subscriptions. You can claim up to $20,000 in compensation, providing documents and receipts to support your claim.

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We have a guide for how to choose between the options, if you are thinking through which is the better choice for you. And if you’ve already filed your claim, the FTC said you can change your mind. Watch for an email from the settlement administrator with instructions.

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