It seems that millions of Americans want in on the Equifax $425 million settlement. That, of course, is bringing out the scam artists.
Fake websites are popping up claiming to be the place where you can apply for the Equifax settlement. If you’re not careful, you could just end up handing personal information to hackers.
We’ll tell you one sure-fire way to spot fake sites. Also, find out why you will be getting much less money than initially offered.
Lots of Americans want Equifax’s money
In 2017, Equifax announced a data breach that exposed the personal information of 147 million people. Last week, the consumer credit reporting agency and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) agreed to a $425 million settlement to help people affected by the data breach.
Consumers were given the choice of getting $125 or up to 10 years of free credit monitoring. No surprise here; millions have already chosen the $125 option.
Well, now, the FTC announced that due to the overwhelming number of applications opting for the $125, the settlement fund is draining quickly. With the cash settlement capped at $31 million, most people will now be getting a very small amount of cash amount. It could even be down to a few dollars and cents.
The FTC is trying to steer people to the free credit monitoring option.
“If your information was exposed in the data breach, and you file a valid claim before the deadline, you are guaranteed at least four years of free monitoring at all three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) and $1,000,000 of identity theft insurance, among other benefits,” the FTC said. “The market value of this product is hundreds of dollars per year.”
Putting a fine point on the situation, the FTC added that you can still choose the cash option “but you will be disappointed with the amount you receive and you won’t get the free credit monitoring.”
Related: Watch out! Clever funding scams spreading online
Spotting fake settlement websites
Not getting $125 is a real bummer. But at the same time, the FTC’s new information has just given you a tool to spot fake Equifax settlement websites.
Whenever large amounts of money are at stake or a disaster happens, scammers are ready to cash in. They can have websites up in minutes that claim to be raising money for disaster relief.
For the Equifax settlement, fake websites are designed to look like the official Equifax claims website. If you find a website that is still offering or even promising that you’ll get $125, it’s most likely a scam.
The FTC put out this warning tweet:
Beware of fake websites claiming to be the Equifax settlement claims website. To be sure you are going to the legitimate site, you can access it from the @ftc’s Equifax page: https://t.co/6Dz4lQYEf2 pic.twitter.com/1qDV3xyYSn
— FTC (@FTC) July 29, 2019
The FTC adds that if you’re asked to pay to file a claim, it’s a scam. Also, beware of anyone who calls you and tries to get you to file a claim.
For all the latest settlement information, tap or click here. This FTC page also has the official link for you to file a claim if you haven’t done so yet. You don’t want to miss out on your $3, right!?