Why Equifax says it can't pay $125 per person to hack victims anymore

Equifax received such an “overwhelming” response after it announced a $700 million settlement in the massive 2017 data hack that the company now says it can’t pay the estimated $125 it originally thought it could give to each claimant.

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Consumers who opted for the money instead of the free 10-year credit monitoring services can expect to get much less, according to USA Today.

“The public response to the settlement has been overwhelming,” the credit reporting agency said on the Federal Trade Commission’s website, where the settlement information is posted. 

Only $31 million of the $700 million settlement was set aside to reimburse the 147 million Americans impacted by the huge breach.

Equifax said people choosing to take the money option will now receive just a small amount of cash, “Nowhere near the $125 they could have gotten if there hadn’t been such an enormous number of claims filed,” the company said.

Consumers can still opt for the cash, but Equifax said its credit monitoring services are a better value.

“If your information was exposed in the data breach, and you file a valid claim before the deadline, you are guaranteed at least four years of free monitoring at all three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) and $1,000,000 of identity theft insurance, among other benefits. The market value of this product is hundreds of dollars per year,” the company said.

Also included in the settlement are six free Equifax credit reports a year for seven years, USA Today reported, and free identity theft recovery services for the same amount of time. Those who had their identities stolen because of the breach can also claim up to $20,000.

Consumers can file claims in the case through the end of January 2020.

The Equifax data breach in 2017 affected 147 million Americans and potentially compromised their personal information such as Social Security numbers and other sensitive data to hackers.

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