Officials Say Just Kidding, You're Not Getting That $125 From Equifax
Equifax, a massive US credit bureau, announced in 2017 that someone read their diary. The massive data breach affected 143 million Americans; names, birthdays, licenses, addresses, and Social Security numbers were stolen along with over 209,000 credit card numbers. Consumers were pissed, and the government was all ?!?! this is a fundamental threat to our nation’s economic security!?!? It wasn't great.
As part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Equifax offered free credit monitoring services or up to $125 to consumers impacted by the breach. But officials were quickly overwhelmed by the number of requests for the cash and, on Wednesday, the FTC said there were simply too many requests for everyone to receive anywhere near $125. Equifax set aside only $31 million for the cash payments, which means the large number of victims who chose that option over free credit monitoring will only end up getting "a small amount of money." Basically, the slice of the pie gets smaller every time someone submits a claim for the money.
That said, the FTC recommends that impacted people should take up the offer for free credit monitoring instead -- the bureaucratic equivalent to store credit as a refund.
Robert Schoshinski, assistant director of the FTC’s division of privacy and identity protection, said in a statement that people who take the money option will only get a little bit of cash, or "nowhere near the $125 they could have gotten if there hadn’t been such an enormous number of claims filed."
Schoshinski added that the free credit monitoring option is worth hundreds of dollars a year. And it’s actually a pretty good deal, though I’m sure many of us planned to forget the breach ever happened and live within our flawed cybersecurity system in ignorant bliss. With a fat, $125-filled wallet.