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Enlarge / Artist's impression of the deal being altered.Disney / 20th Century Fox

If you're one of the millions of Americans who received an email this weekend from the Equifax Breach Settlement Administrator, you're not alone. Nor are you alone if you were surprised or confused by the message, as more than a half-dozen Ars readers who forwarded theirs were. The message, however, is entirely legitimate, and the information it seeks is part of the claims process.

Equifax and the Federal Trade Commission in July reached a settlement relating to the company's completely massive data breach of more than 140 million Americans. As part of that agreement, anyone whose data was part of the breach could file a claim to receive either cash compensation or several years of free credit monitoring.

In order to receive the cash compensation, however, claimants certified that they already have some form of credit monitoring services in place. Such services are not only freely available to many credit card and bank account holders, but also are routinely given out to customers whose data is lost in a breach, and so tens of millions of claimants did indeed ask for the cash instead.

The fund for paying out cash compensation, however, is capped at $31 million—nowhere near as much money as Equifax would need in order to compensate the millions of claimants.

The first step in winnowing down the claims, therefore, is to make everyone who said they have credit monitoring actually provide the name of the service they use, and that's what the settlement administrator is asking for with the recent email.

A screenshot of the email sent by the Equifax Breach Settlement Administrator to claimants who requested the $125 cash compensation alternative.
Enlarge / A screenshot of the email sent by the Equifax Breach Settlement Administrator to claimants who requested the $125 cash compensation alternative.

The FTC's information page about the settlement warns claimants that this verification is part of the process:

The settlement administrator will be sending an email to people who already submitted a claim for the alternative cash payment. In that email, you will have the option to:

1) provide additional information OR

2) switch to free credit monitoring.

Wait for the email from the settlement administrator if you want to amend your claim form. The settlement administrator has said that the claims website will soon be updated with this information, tooRead More – Source

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