In what is one of the largest class action settlements in U.S. history, Yahoo has agreed to pay $50 million to victims of a massive security breach that is said to have affected up to 200 million U.S. consumers and about 3 billion email accounts globally. According to a report on Techcrunch.com, this settlement agreement is the culmination of a two-year-old lawsuit.
Details of the Settlement
Yahoo, which is now part of Verizon’s Oath business, has proposed to pay $50 million in compensation to about 200 million users in the United States and Israel. In addition, the company will cover up to $35 million in attorneys’ fees relating to the case and provide affected consumers in the United States with credit monitoring services through AllClear, a package that would retail for about $350.
As part of this settlement, there are also compensation options for small businesses and individuals to claim back costs for losses linked to the hacks. This might include identity theft, delayed tax refunds, and other issues relating to the data breach. Also, those who paid for premium Yahoo email services can claim a 25 percent refund. The agreement is subject to final approval by a federal judge in Northern California at a hearing scheduled for Nov. 29.
Yahoo estimated that close to three billion accounts were affected by a series of data breaches, which began in 2013. The intrusion is suspected to have been a state-sponsored attack by Russia. However, no strong evidence has been provided to substantiate that claim. The incident did not become publicly known until three years after the breaches. Hackers stole information that included email and passwords.
Steps You Can Take
As more and more information is stored on computers and servers – especially private information that hackers can use to their benefit – data breaches are becoming increasingly common. Corporations have a legal responsibility to protect information that has been entrusted to them by consumers. When they fail to do so, they can and should be held accountable. Since these types of cases involve millions of victims, class action lawsuits are often the best means to hold these corporations liable.
If you have been the victim of a data breach, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. Change your passwords right away. If you believe your credit card information may have been stolen, contact the credit card company to cancel your existing card and have a new card issued. This applies to debit cards as well. If your Social Security number has been stolen, have one of the three major credit reporting agencies place a fraud alert on your account. You may also place a credit freeze on your account, which will prevent a credit reporting company from releasing your credit report or score without your consent. Please contact an experienced California class action lawyer who will help ensure that you are fairly compensated for your private information/identity theft-related losses.