Now, the FTC is trying to persuade Americans to pick a different option: take Equifax’s offer of free credit monitoring instead.
But the fund dedicated to the cash payouts is only $31 million, the FTC said. That means the more people who file claims for a check, the less likely it is that they’ll receive the full $125 payment. The response has been so overwhelming that the agency warned recipients will get “nowhere near $125.”
The $31 million cash fund is part of a larger $300 million fund that Equifax agreed to pay for under its data breach settlement with the FTC. The rest of the Equifax money provides free credit monitoring for customers who select that option instead of cash. Some is also earmarked for cash reimbursements to those who say the breach cost them significant amounts of time — up to $25 for each hour spent freezing credit, disputing fraudulent charges or seeking credit monitoring.
If the overall fund has not been exhausted by the end of 4.5 years, some of that money will go toward expanding the $31 million fund for future claims, an FTC official said. It will not, however, go toward more money for the original claimants.
Equifax agreed to contribute an additional $125 million if the overall fund ran low. But the FTC’s blog post appears to suggest that Equifax is not under the same obligation if only the $31 million fund specifically for the cash payouts up to $125 runs dry.
An FTC spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Equifax didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
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