back to article If you could forget the $125 from Equifax and just take the free credit monitoring, that would be great – FTC

America's trade watchdog has officially told millions in the US not to apply for the $125 it promised each of them as part of the deal it struck with Equifax – and instead take up an offer of free credit monitoring. In a memo on Wednesday, FTC assistant director Robert Schoshinski said the regulator has been overwhelmed by …

  1. Mayday Silver badge

    I'd choose

    $0 vs this "service" from these clowns.

    1. GnuTzu

      Re: I'd choose

      FTC = Foolish Tools for Clowns (My best shot off the cuff. Any others?)

      1. GnuTzu

        Re: I'd choose

        Oh, and if fax is becoming obsolete, then will Equi-fax, or will it just change its name to like Boeing wants to change the name of its death traps?

      2. Valerion

        Re: I'd choose

        Fucking Total Cnuts would be my contribution.

    2. Zarno

      Re: I'd choose

      For sure.

      The signups are a joke too.

      "Please re-verify all the extremely sensitive financial data we lost, so we can better serve it to others. We also need your whole-house baby bottle nipple count, favorite brand and flavor of jam, and preferred shower head angle to verify your identity."

      It always seems they don't know who we are, then want even more data.

  2. Notas Badoff

    "There is a downside to this unexpected number of claims," noted Schoshinski.

    We look like fools.

  3. Fatman

    The "inflated" fines

    Can be best described in one simple, easy to understand word:


  4. Jay Lenovo

    Making it Better'er

    "I'll settle your stupid and top it with our own."

    * Overheard at FTC/Equifax settlement negotiations

  5. elvisimprsntr

    And I'm sure all these fines levied (real or imagined) are tax deductible against future Equifax earnings, lowering their tax liability. The net effect will be less US tax revenue, which middle class America will have to make up for or just gets piled on to the US national debt. So who are the real criminals here? The thieves who stole the data, or the government officials and politicians?

    1. Steve K


      ..The thieves who stole the data, or the government officials and politicians?

      Hang on, this is a trick question, right?

  6. ma1010

    Nothing new, and it will never change

    This sort of "regulation" is what Americans are (or should be) used to, since that's what we've been getting for a LONG time. Until we get a Congress not owned in fee simple by the big corporations, which is to say NEVER, it will continue.

    These aren't the regulators you were hoping for. Move along!

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Nothing new, and it will never change

      But wait, I thought you all hated "big government"?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Make them pay (even if it's a little)

    I'm still going to take the money and make sure it's the mailed check option, that way they have to at least pay a little extra for postage and MICR toner.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Make them pay (even if it's a little)

      That's what I did. I'll frame the damn thing, and it's envelope, on the wall after e-depositing it.

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Make them pay (even if it's a little)

      No, have them mail the prepaid card. Not only will they have to pay the postage, they'll have to pay the fee for the card too.

      I'll frame the card and mark $.16 in Sharpie on the front.

  8. OffBeatMammal

    and yet... they just paid a $90m bonus to the CEO who 'oversaw' this breach...

    toothless fines like this just mean crap like this will continue to happen...

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      The "toothless fines" and laws seem to be the norm these days in all the agencies that are supposed to be for the taxpayer. FCC comes to mind also.

      1. JohnFen

        "FCC comes to mind also."

        True, but at least the FCC has largely given up any real pretense that they're operating in the best interest of the citizenry. Their existence is now overtly to protect and enhance the profits of the major telecoms.

  9. Boo Radley

    Lied to Again

    I submitted my claim last weekend, plus $50 for the two hours it took me to straighten out this shitstorm. Guess I'll watch my mailbox for my $0.21 check.

    1. BebopWeBop

      Re: Lied to Again

      at least if you get it, you will have the satisfaction if knowing it cost them far more in terms of processing, handling and preparation,

  10. Kanhef

    Reading the settlement, clause IX.D says that if funds remain in the Consumer Fund (i.e., for credit monitoring) at the end of the claims period, it shall be used to lift the Alternative Reimbursement Compensation Cap (the 'up to $125' part). So if no one wants the credit monitoring, there's potentially up to $425 million available as cash – enough to give the full amount to 3.4 million people. Slightly better, though I'd still rather have them have to set aside $18 billion to fully compensate everyone affected.

  11. YetAnotherJoeBlow

    A new law...

    Before the lawyers are paid, x% claimants must be made whole with funds reserved for the rest of the claimants. Then the lawyers can take their percentage.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The biggest issue: leaks TOWARDS Equifax

    The problem I have with these shenanigans is that you do not have a choice when it comes to Equifax, so maybe I ought to prod some people in the EU Commission to start looking at this.

    I am supposed to take some responsibility for who I give my details to, but Equifax gets that from others without my permission. Effectively, in my book that means they acquired those details illegally to start with, and I want answers there. Those who gave my details to them must be held responsible.

    1. BebopWeBop

      Re: The biggest issue: leaks TOWARDS Equifax

      A very good point. And the EU seems to have the bit between their teeth on this sort of thing (unlike the spineless eejits in Whitehall and Westminster).

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    you MAY be eligible for benefits

    one scummy word...

  14. DJO Silver badge

    What am I missing here?

    Surely if personal details had not been leaked, the credit monitoring would not be needed.

    In which case the service has a replacement value of zero as it would not be necessary had Equifax not screwed up in the first place.

  15. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

    "unexpected number of claims"

    Can Mr. Schoshinski explain why it turned out to be so unexpected? From the first principles, it seems to me that all the data needed for estimating the number of claims correctly were available...

    1. mptBrain

      Re: "unexpected number of claims"

      Math(s) is hard for us Americans.

  16. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Reading this, can we say FCC's real role is to shield rogue companies from customers?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    21cents is still 21cents more

    Than you'd get in the UK.

    1. BebopWeBop

      Re: 21cents is still 21cents more

      Actually given the plummeting of the £ I think the UK will take 21c from anywhere kind enough to give to a rapidly failing state.

  18. Graham Cobb Silver badge

    Why isn't credit monitoring available for free?

    These credit rating agencies are in a massively privileged position: they get an unreasonable free ride on the privacy rules that apply to every other business (GDPR anyone?), and very light regulation. Ordinary people are their product.

    In exchange for that, it must be an absolute requirement from regulators in all countries, that these companies provide full credit monitoring as well as locking/unlocking for everyone on their database for free. There is no way that we (their product) should be charged anything for monitoring or controlling them or their industry (credit).

    If, as they claim, their service is exceptional (fundamental to the functioning of the economy, etc) and needs to be exempt from the privacy requirements everyone else has to comply with, then there need to be exceptional requirements in place to protect the people on the database:

    - Automatic, permanent (with opt-out available) free credit monitoring

    - Immediate and full visibility of all requests made (who, when, why) and copies of specific data provided

    - Immediate, and free, locking/unlocking. Also the option to require specific approval from the subject for each request.

    - Full visibility of data stored (whether provided to any requester or not)

    - Full visibility of any analysis/processing/conclusions performed (for example, an algorithm summarising some data or providing a credit rating)

    - Immediate and unconditional ability to add a dispute, and a proposed correction, to any data, which must be provided whenever the data (or a result calculated from it) is provided

    - Fast (free) process to get corrections made, including maximum response times from providers who have provided the incorrect data

    - External, independent process (free to the subject) to get disputes resolved when the subject and the provider do not agree on a correction

    Yes, these are exceptional requirements. But they are the ones claiming their business is exceptional.

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Why isn't credit monitoring available for free?

      "Yes, these are exceptional requirements."

      Not really. When the process was much more manual it would have been. Now it's all computerized so reports and notifications just take a few watts to squirt out. The vast majority of people aren't going to have much activity on their CR anyway.

  19. SotarrTheWizard

    Well, I accepted the offer in lieu. . . .

    . . . so if they don't deliver the bucks as agreed. . . . . isn't it grounds for suing for breach of contract ? With legal fees and triple damages for the non-performance. . . (evil grin)

  20. ratfox
    Paris Hilton

    Meanwhile, the rest of the world wonders what "credit monitoring" even means. Is this a North-America only thing? I saw vague reports in UK, but it doesn't seem very relevant. My assumption is that it's somehow a consequence of the lack of ID cards. Or maybe it's just due to having a credit-based economy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Here in Spain we have some sort of Equifax-like enterprises but that only collect data from unpaid bills and other debts, which all credit-giving business have a clause allowing them to share your data in case of unpayment and check against them before granting credit. So, in theory, they only collect such data from people who would have a poor credit rating in the US. If you have no debts, you're clean and they will know nothing about you.

      In theory.

      What really happens is that any utility, usually telecoms, will bill you "by mistake" a huge amount. If you have no funds to pay it or if you tell the bank to revert the charge, the utility will first share your data to these agencies (because at that point you're in debt with them) and then "acknowledge" the mistake and revert the bill. But your personal data and your debt has already been shared to these agencies.

      This practice has become so prevalent that any serious business consulting these unpayment databases will routinely ignore entries from utilities unless they are recurrent.

    2. JohnFen

      "Credit monitoring" is a largely worthless piece of BS that was invented early on when the first large leak of financial data happened. The purpose of it is to minimize the amount the company has to actually pony up, while at the same time attempting to make the affected people feel like "something has been done".

  21. Eddy Ito

    This time by the very US government agency that is supposed to be overseeing all this.

    Are you new? It's a U.S. gubbermint agency, this is par for the course. Fear not, I hear they'll bring in TSA to fondle any complaints.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Equifax will probably write off the settlement, and the cost of free credit monitoring, while at the same time count the cost of free credit monitoring as income - after a mark up from the cost, take a tax break for the loss of "goodwill" value and then take an increase in the goodwill value overall due to the offering of free credit monitoring. Since this ends up representing a net gain in income, the top executives will take home bigger bonuses and stock options. I wish my company would reward failure so lavishly.

  23. David_42

    So, please take the service that costs us next to nothing to provide, because it's 95% of the deal and costs us almost nothing. Did I mention it costs us almost nothing?

  24. teebie

    "A large number of claims for cash instead of credit monitoring means only one thing:"

    Is that thing that you didn't fine them enough?

  25. SotarrTheWizard
    Thumb Down

    And now comes the waffling. . .

    . . . just got email from Equifax. I now have to PROVE I have Identity Theft protection, or accept theirs. And the payout will, ***SURPRISE** be lower.

    To quote:

    "Because of the number of individuals who have selected the alternative compensation cash payment, the amount you receive may be substantially less than $125.

    Click this box if you want to keep the alternative compensation cash payment. Your payment may be substantially lowered, depending on the number of valid claims filed.

    In order to verify your claim, please provide the name of your credit monitoring service that you will have for at least the next six months:"

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