back to article Equifax is going to make you work for that 125 bucks it owes each of you: Biz sneaks out Friday night rule change

It’s been a year since hapless credit-monitoring company Equifax admitted hackers gained access to the personal details of some 175 million people on its servers – and it has marked the anniversary with an extra legal hurdle for those seeking compensation. The credit-history collectors lost control of details, included the …

  1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    The math doesn't add up.

    A 575M fine spread across 175M people comes out to 3.29 per person. That's not even the cost of a decent sandwich at a take away.

    175M people getting 125 each comes to 21,875,000,000 which is a far cry from what the FTC was so happy to crow about.

    You want to punish them for fucking up so badly? Make them pay each person an even 1M instead. Not only will that make them sit up & take notice, it'll eviscerate & disembowel them in a way that will make sure they never make that mistake again. Hold the C-level execs personally, financially, criminally accountable & there would be far fewer such fuck ups in the future.

    You want to earn the big bucks? Fine, but it's your neck on the chopping block if shit hits the fan.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The math doesn't add up.

      These types of awards are always "up to $amount". The more people who file for it, the less money you get, since the pot is divided equally. Look at the Equifax settlement, you will it clearly says "up to $125".

    2. swm Silver badge

      Re: The math doesn't add up.

      You need to put the fat cats in jail.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @swm - Re: The math doesn't add up.

        Sorry, mate, not in the USA.

  2. Pirate Dave
    Pirate

    So basically

    Equifax is a conniving piece of shit, and the FTC is their shit-eating dog. Or have I got that backwards?

    1. GnuTzu

      Re: So basically

      Your data is the product, and you are not the customer. Funny how familiar that theme is. You can expect the same crap-spewing behavior from any company fitting that pattern.

      1. GnuTzu

        Re: So basically

        Well, it seems that I have to correct myself.

        It's worse than this. You data is not the product--it's a resource, and it's one that the banking industry doesn't just let them tap at will, but it's a resource that the banking industry willingly spews at them without restraint.

        And then, the really bad news: their product is their opinion on your merits. Oh yes, they have a mathematical formula--presumably, based on Scientific or actuarial principals. But, they own that algorithm.

        So, who represents us in validating that algorithm? Who represents us in evaluating the merit of the thing that rates our merit.

        Well, read the rest of the thread, as others have already answered that question--as well reasonably rated the merits of that agency.

    2. steviebuk Silver badge

      Re: So basically

      The FTC is in a human centipede with Equifax. Equifax is at the front, the FTC is in the middle and all of the unfortunate users of Equifax at the end.

  3. elDog

    I know what we can do, call the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

    Oh, wait. Donald "The Dotard" Dump is in control and has eviscerated any such regulatory agencies.

    Coming soon to a Albion Shore near you. Dump and buddy Johnson - what a fine pair.

    1. SotarrTheWizard

      Re: I know what we can do, call the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

      If you think ***ANY*** President controls the Bureaucracy, I have some shoreline property in Florida to sell you. . .

    2. JoMe

      Re: I know what we can do, call the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

      Um, actually the fine curtailment was Obama's doing. And many of the soft touch policies are Obama-era.

      In fact, the FTC chairman that Trump selected actually went on record telling Congress to curtail his power - something that the previous chairman (plenty of issues there).

  4. Jay Lenovo
    Black Helicopters

    Find something wrong? Equifax has a product for that

    Great ...credit monitoring service.

    Throw in a future credit "fixing" service and we might have a deal.

    1. SotarrTheWizard

      Re: Find something wrong? Equifax has a product for that

      Not really. I got zapped by the US Gov OMB hack. . . their monitoring and "repair" service is absolutely worthless. But it gives me near-weekly updates on any registered sex offenders within ~20 miles. A feature I neither wanted or needed.

      When someone tried to open an account in my name, I got a warning from the BANK, who thought it dodgy. It took a MONTH for the OMB "MyIDCare" to even show the queries.

  5. Nate Amsden

    freeze credit?

    The day the Equifax news broke I froze my credit on the 3 credit companies. I sent messages to folks I knew advising them to do the same but I don't think anyone did. I've temporarily unfrozen my credit twice since then(which I believe is 2 years now). The temporary unfreeze is automatic, you set the day to unfreeze and the day to re-freeze. Perhaps I'm wrong but I think freezing credit is preferable than relying on a credit reporting service? (maybe better to do both I suppose) Though I don't see many articles suggesting this, which I find strange. Unless you are someone that regularly performs tasks that accesses this data. For me, once a year it feels like a safer thing and there is no monthly or annual fees (though there was a one time fee with one or two of the companies, I think those fees were eliminated as a result of this breach though).

    1. Surreal
      Flame

      Re: freeze credit? With Innovis, too?

      Good on you for freezing your credit with 3 credit companies.

      Surprise! There's a 4th parasitic a-hole (credit bureau) called Innovis.

      My report is (and was) frozen with the others, but a Verizon store two states away (in Texas) still sold "me" a new iPhone this July. I found out when the bills started arriving.

      Luckily, it's super-easy to freeze that one because they do Nothing to validate who is on their website asking for the freeze. Seriously: see it to believe it.

      1. Surreal
        Flame

        Re: freeze credit? With Innovis, too? and PRBC

        I missed the 10-minute edit deadline to add:

        Oh, FFS. I've gotta do another one. Google "innovis" and there's a link to Wikipedia with this snippet:

        "Innovis is a provider of consumer data solutions and is considered a CRA in the United States, the others being Equifax, Experian, TransUnion, PRBC, SageStream, and ARS. As of 2013 most sources of information about consumer credit repair seldom mention either Innovis or PRBC, a fifth agency."

        I guess I take minuscule comfort that there isn't a "Trump" credit agency as well. Damned small comfort, that.

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: freeze credit? With Innovis, too? and PRBC

          Krebs recommends freezing with NCTUE as well, and adding an alert with ChexSystems, and opting out of pre-screened credit offers (which you can do via a phone call or web form). So that's ten organizations to work with:

          Equifax

          Experian

          TransUnion

          Innovis

          PRBC

          SageStream

          ARS

          NCTUE

          ChexSystems

          optoutprescreen.com

          In my experience, with at least half of these you're likely to run into technical issues, invalid authentication data, or other issues. Enjoy!

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: freeze credit? With Innovis, too? and PRBC

          Oh, and remember to nag other adult members of your household to do the same. And do it for your minor children, because identity thieves love to impersonate minors; minor victims often don't discover the activity for years.

      2. ThatOne Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: freeze credit? With Innovis, too?

        If it's so super-easy to freeze, it might be just as easy to unfreeze?...

        1. Surreal
          Thumb Down

          Re: freeze credit? With Innovis, too?

          Innovis says I'll get a letter in snailmail with My Secret PIN code to unlock the account. Still waiting on that.

          I can't imagine why I'd ever want to unlock it, given that I'd never even heard of them before.

    2. KTF901

      Re: freeze credit?

      I signed up with the. 4 credit agencies to freeze my credit in Sept of 2017. This should be more than sufficient for Equifax. And safer than any monitoring because their are hackers looking to exploit the holes in said monitoring.

      Why on earth would I take Equifax up on their credit monitoring when a) they were breached in May

      b) and didn’t tell millions until Aug/Sept?

      The freezes are much safer than monitoring. End of story.

      Cough up the $125. Equifax

      1. KTF901

        Re: freeze credit?

        I also applied for the money on time spent contacting agencies and filling out forms to freeze my credit.

      2. Cederic Silver badge

        Re: freeze credit?

        I don't understand why the payment is only available to people that have credit monitoring in place either.

        I don't have credit monitoring because I shouldn't need it and I'm sure as fuck not going to pay for it. If the CRAs or financial institutions fail to protect my data or fail to identify someone misusing my identity then it's their issue, not mine.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I already have so many offers of free one year credit monitoring that my great grandchildren may inherit most of them. They seem to be piling up rather rapidly.

  7. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Government has ouir backs, but not the way we think.

    I'm reminded an awful lot o the old "I'm from the government and I'm here to help" as they hand you tube of Vaseline.

    1. DiViDeD Silver badge

      Re: tube of vaseline.

      Your attitude is appalling, and I can only surmise you are one of these freedom hating anti corporationistas the government are always warning us about, bless them.

      As any true, freedom loving patriot knows, Vaseline comes in TUBS!!!11 not tubes.

      Nurse! Quickly! The screens!

  8. Sloppy Crapmonster

    The lawyers got $77.5 million

    I think they should be required to collect in credit monitoring coverage instead.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: The lawyers got $77.5 million

      Kevin Underhill posted a piece in Lowering the Bar about a judge who ordered the plaintiff's counsel in one of those "coupon settlements" to be paid in coupons. The order was overturned and the judge was sanctioned, unfortunately. Underhill thought it was a good idea, and I agree.

  9. onebignerd

    Why am I not surprised? The company entrusted with people's financial and personal information allows hackers in due to lazy software patching and poor system security. But no responsibility, no accountability and absolutely no compensation. Translation: We don't give a *!$@%!!!!

    1. ThatOne Silver badge
      Devil

      > We don't give a *!$@%!!!!

      Why should they?

      What are people going to do? Rant, fume, and eventually forget, and it's not like that can affect Equifax's bottom line in any way. Equifax is a mandatory service which controls and rules peoples' lives, peoples' helpless tantrums are just mildly amusing to them.

  10. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    but that was not the agreement.

    I found I was ineligible anyway... but that was not the agreement. The $125 was not to reimburse for another credit monitoring service, it was to provide an option for a cash settlement for their negligence. They really should have no reason to demand proof of having another credit monitoring service to cough up cash since that is not what it's for.

  11. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker Bronze badge
    Megaphone

    YOU are your own credit monitoring service (and all it costs is time)

    I know "free" services always come with a catch -- your attention is sold to advertisers, usually -- but by using the following, I've kept decent tabs on everything before I had an official monitoring service (see notes 1 and 2):

    First, I use AnnualCreditReport.com to check and print (hardcopy) and sometimes download (PDF) the official reports from the main three agencies.

    Second, I use CreditKarma to get updates to two of those three just about whenever I feel like it, up to weekly. I aim for monthly, but I don't always go through the trouble unless I know something is coming like we intend to apply for something.

    So when the press says "[company] is offering credit monitoring services for anyone affected", I usually move on, since I KNOW my credit reports haven't been affected (note 4).

    Bootnotes:

    1. Like others, I do have OPM MyIDCare (check my nickname and add it up); go back up to SotarrTheWizard's post about it.

    2. Even though it doesn't help much, I'm glad I had it in place so this extra Equifax hurdle was cleared in a couple minutes.

    3. Everything I've been doing I also do for my missus; equally protected.

    4. I have had one certain credit card misused twice, but only found out through that card's own site (recent card activity) on my own. Their own fraud prevention didn't catch it, but they were great at reversing charges immediately and issuing new cards without disturbing my credit/payment history or any other terms. I mostly blame myself for username/password reuse, which I've rectified in a manner unique from any other recent password changes, but it is possible the card details were stolen from any number of retailers.

    Regardless of the cause, my main point stands: it was/is my own diligence that kept/keeps nasties at bay. Everyone needs to take responsibility for their own financial presence, physical (cash, checks, cards) or digital (credit reports/scores, online accounts and login credentials) -- own it!

  12. steviebuk Silver badge

    It's free...

    ...free monitoring from the very company that had a data breach. Fuck that.

  13. Frank Bitterlich
    Mushroom

    What a great legal system...

    It's not exactly news that with most "class action" settlelemnts, the people actually harmed get little or no recompensastion at all.

    But this is taking the whole thing to a new level: The FTC allows the defendant to install arbitrary hurdles for any claimant, including bullying those who have suffered damage by that firm to buy even more of their services.

    "Nice credit rating you have, there. Would be a shame if something happened to it..."

    Effectively, a US federal agency is siding with the perpetrator, to keep the financial damage (to Equifax) as small as possible.

    That level of corruption is amazing, even when you take the current government into account.

    1. Kabukiwookie Silver badge

      Re: What a great legal system...

      This is late-stage unregulated capitalism at work. The people to blame are not the corporations; you can't blame the scorpion for stinging you, it's in their nature.

      Blame can be laid at the feet of corrupt politicians and an electorate that is not paying attention to how bad things are until it's too late.

      Democracy takes constant vigilance.

      1. Doonesman

        Re: What a great legal system...

        It is the price we must continually pay.

  14. JoMe

    So, in essence...

    They don't even need to pay their earnings on a single quarter (2018 Q3 earnings over $800MM - just search for Equifax earnings Q3 2018 you lazy b--tard)? And not only that, but if I'm one of the affected, I would face an average cost of $1350 (according to CSID). For this, they feel it's "ok" to just pay out a measly $125? Never mind that the amount of the settlement doesn't equate that/

    This still amazes me. If I had a small business that made $500'000 a year, and I committed such gross negligence, I would be out on the street and fined up the wazoo. Big Business simply slips through the cracks.

  15. el_oscuro
    Devil

    I'm going to make them work to not pay me

    First I asked for the $125, of course.

    Then they said they said they need who provided my credit monitoring. So I gave them the name of the one provided by my corporate overlords. Took 10 seconds.

    Soon they will ask you to upload some proof. So I will get either a screenshot of the email or even better, a scanned printout with a really crappy scanner.

    That way they have to use an actual person to look at my attachment.

    After it is all done and said, they will have probably spent a lot of billable hours to avoid paying the $125.

    Then I'll take them to small claims court, and include all of the time spent trying to collect the $125.

    1. Carpet Deal 'em
      Boffin

      Re: I'm going to make them work to not pay me

      Accepting a class-action settlement waives your right to sue them individually. Granted, if you've got a bit of spare money you don't need, you could probably bleed them worse that way, but you won't get anything without solid proof of loss.

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