Just last week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and others reached a settlement with Equifax about its September 2017 data breach that exposed personal information of 147 million people.

Just last week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and others reached a settlement with Equifax about its September 2017 data breach that exposed personal information of 147 million people. Potential victims were directed to ftc.gov/Equifax, to find out if their information was exposed and to learn how to file a claim with the company in charge of the claims process.

The FTC reports public response to the settlement has been overwhelming.

But there’s a downside to this unexpected number of claims. First, though, the good: all 147 million people can ask for and get free credit monitoring. There’s also the option for people who certify that they already have credit monitoring to claim up to $125 instead. But the pot of money that pays for that part of the settlement is $31 million. A large number of claims for cash instead of credit monitoring means only one thing: each person who takes the money option will wind up only getting a small amount of money. Nowhere near the $125 they could have gotten if there hadn’t been such an enormous number of claims filed.

So, for those who have not filed a claim yet, think about opting for the free credit monitoring instead. The FTC reports the free credit monitoring is worth a lot more — the market value would be hundreds of dollars a year. The service monitors your credit report at all three nationwide credit reporting agencies, and it comes with up to $1 million in identity theft insurance and individualized identity restoration services.

For those who have already submitted claims for this cash payment, look for an email from the settlement administrator. For more information, email the settlement administrator, JND, at info@EquifaxBreachSettlement.com.

Note that there is still money available under the settlement to reimburse people for what they paid out of their pocket to recover from the breach — for example, those who had to pay for their own credit freezes after the breach or hired someone to help them deal with identity theft. The settlement has a larger pool of money for just those people.