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Want that $125 from Equifax? Don't ignore the company's latest email

Are you eligible for Equifax payout funds?
Are you eligible for Equifax payout funds? 03:39
  • Equifax wants consumers to verify they already have credit monitoring services, a requirement for collecting a $125 cash payment in compensation for the credit bureau's massive 2017 data breach. 
  • The deadline to verify such claims is October 15.
  • Yet consumers might not receive the full $125 because the cash award could be reduced depending on the number of claims.

Equifax dangled an enticing offer for the 148 million consumers impacted by its massive 2017 data breach: a $125 cash payment. Now the credit reporting company is making people who are submitting a claim jump through one last hoop.

Many consumers received an email on Sunday alerting them that, to collect payment, they must provide proof of enrollment for credit monitoring services by October 15. Failure to provide that proof by the deadline will result in a claim being denied, according to copies of the email posted on social media. Consumers may also amend their claim to ask for free credit monitoring rather than the cash, according to the email. 

The notice from Equifax drew fire from many consumers, who took to social media to complain about the request. "Equifax is doing everything to weasel out of this settlement," one Twitter user wrote. 

Equifax: Verify claim

While the email may have taken some consumers by surprise, the Equifax breach settlement made it clear from the outset that consumers would only qualify for the cash payment if they already had credit monitoring services.

"You must certify that you have some form of credit monitoring or protection services on the date you submit your claim form, name the provider of those services, and certify that you will keep those services for a minimum of six (6) months," according to the settlement website. 

$125 — or less?

Under the Equifax settlement reached in July, consumers were offered a chance to collect the $125 in compensation, prompting the likes of congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to urge victims to "get your check from Equifax!" But the reality may not be as remunerative as many believe.

For one, as Equifax noted the payment is only available to people who already have credit monitoring services, which typically cost between $10 to $30 a month — and which consumers must now show they are enrolled in.

Equifax to pay up to $700M for data breach 01:29

But the biggest gotcha is likely to be a detail that many consumers are overlooking in their eagerness to bank the payment: The pool of money to fund the payments is topped at $31 million. If the claims exceed that amount, the per person payout "will be lowered and distributed on a proportional basis," the settlement site's notes in an FAQ.

If more than 248,000 people make claims on that $31 million pot of money, the individual payout will be less than $125. If all 148 million victims claimed the award, the payout would amount to a paltry 21 cents per person.

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