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Equifax Settlement: Take the $ 125 or Free Credit Monitoring? How to choose


Angela Lang / CNET

If you read this, you are likely to be affected by the Equifax Data Protection Infringement of 2017 which exposed the personal information of 1

47 million people to hackers. (To verify that you were part of the violation – and therefore entitled to file a claim – visit the privacy breach site where you enter your last name and the last six digits of your social security number into the online form. ) And you should know that in the context of the settlement between Equifax and the Federal Trade Commission, you may be entitled to compensation for the costs and time spent recovering from the breach.

The settlement allows you to claim multiple benefits. So, when you submit for a service, you can not receive any additional benefits. While most of the claims that you can apply for are straightforward, you have at least one choice: Apply for credit protection for $ 125 or 10 years . It's tempting to accept cash, but first think about what options you have.

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Should you use the $ 125 or free credit monitoring?

You can submit a claim for 10 years of free credit monitoring or, instead, apply for a $ 125 payment if you already have a service that performs credit monitoring when applying for it. The following should be considered in the selection.

Option 1: Take the money after signing up for six months to monitor and keep what's left after six months. To claim the $ 125 you must confirm that you are using a credit monitoring service at the time of submitting your claim and keeping it for six months. Credit inquiry services can cost $ 10 to $ 30 a month – or you can use a free service such as Credit Karma – but if you choose one of the cheaper services, you can $ 60 or so go away.

Option 2: Sign up for 10 years of credit monitoring and sleep better. $ 125 is a good sum. Ten years of a credit monitoring service could add up to $ 1,200 to $ 3,600 over time. Which is a bigger sum.

The choice you make is of course entirely up to you. We can not do it for you.

If you're the type who likes to hedge your bets, it would be good to sign up for a service for six months and then request the payment. And if you're worried about identity theft and cheating at night, 10-year free surveillance may be the right choice to keep you calm. Whichever way you go, your choice does not preclude you from claiming for other benefits.

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