By now you likely know that Equifax reached a settlement agreement to provide compensation to individuals impacted by the data breach back in 2017. If your identity was actually stolen and you suffered a financial loss there are provisions of the settlement that could result in large financial compensation.
However, if you were impacted by the breach but have not suffered a financial loss, you have several benefits available to you. One of those benefits gives you two options to choose from.
- Receive cash payment of UP to $125 with the caveat that you will have credit monitoring for at least 6 months.
- Receive 10 years of credit monitoring services – 4 years with Experian’s three-bureau credit monitoring services and 6 more years with Equifax’s, one-bureau credit monitoring.
If you already have comprehensive credit monitoring and identity theft protection that you are happy with and don’t want to change, you may want to submit your claim for the one-time payment. However, it’s important to note that many experts expect that the $125 claim will be reduced because there is a limited pot of $31,000,000. That’s just enough to pay 248,000 people and given that an estimated 147,000,000 people were affected, it will likely be reduced. If just 5% of people affected claim the cash, it would be reduced to less than $5/person unless they were to increase the pot.
Since there is a possibility of a smaller cash reward, I prefer the credit monitoring option. Credit monitoring services can run from $120-$200/year2, which could theoretically save you $1,200-$2,000 on these services over 10 years. Call your advisor to determine which option is appropriate for you.
- “Submit a Claim.” Submit a Claim, 2019, secure.equifaxbreachsettlement.com/.
- “Should I Pay for Credit Monitoring?” MONEY.com, 2019, money.com/money/collection-post/2791979/should-i-pay-for-credit-monitoring/.
Disclaimer: Make sure you do your own research and due diligence before submitting a claim. Alex Voorhees and Reston Wealth Management do not provide legal, accounting or tax advice. The opinions voiced in this article are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.