US consumer group issues warning over Equifax settlement fund

A US consumer protection group has urged people affected by Equifax’s 2017 data breach to consider signing up for the free credit monitoring offered as part of the settlement because of an overwhelming interest in the cash alternative.

The settlement with Equifax announced on July 22 included at least US$300m and potentially up to US$425m to help consumers recover from the breach. Among the benefits available to those affected by the breach is free credit monitoring services or, alternatively, a cash payment if they already have credit monitoring.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says public response to the settlement has been “overwhelming” and that because the amount of money set aside for the cash payment option is capped at US$31m, those who select that option may not receive the US$125 they had expected.

For those who have not submitted a claim, the FTC is recommending that affected consumers consider choosing the free credit monitoring service, which is worth hundreds of dollars and comes with identity theft insurance and restoration services.

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