Equifax demands more consumer info before making payouts for massive breach

Equifax, the credit bureau that failed to protect personal data on nearly half the U.S. population from hackers, is now asking for more information from victims before making payments from a $31 million fund set aside for compensation.

In July, Equifax agreed to pay as much as $700 million in a Federal Trade Commission settlement over the 2017 breach  (which resulted in the theft of personal identification data such as birthdates and Social Security numbers for 147 million people).

Last weekend, Equifax reportedly notified consumers that they have until October 15 to prove they signed up for credit reporting of some kind or risk forfeiting any payment, according to theverge.com. Critics say the Atlanta-based company is simply snarling customers in red tape, making it more difficult for them to get payments.

Essentially, the choice Equifax is offering victims is: Make a claim for $125 (although you won't necessarily get $125) or sign up for four years of free credit reports.

The better option is likely the free reports, because the potential cash payment per victim shrinks every time someone chooses that.

Even the Federal Trade Commission agrees. "The free credit monitoring provides a much better value, and everyone whose information was exposed can take advantage of it," the agency said.