Act fast. Millions of Americans could be owed hundreds to thousands of dollars as part of a class-action settlement with Yahoo over massive data breaches.
Consumers could receive between $358 and $25,000, depending on how seriously the breaches affected them.
Yahoo consumers affected by data breaches that took place between 2012 and 2016 are now eligible to file claims for compensation, though a number of factors will play into the amount of compensation each account holder will receive.
Terms of settlement
As part of a recently approved $117.5 million settlement, Yahoo has set up a website to help consumers file claims. It also provides information on whether a Yahoo user qualifies for compensation.
From 2012 to 2016, Yahoo suffered a series of data breaches that ranged from extremely serious to smaller nuisances. Collectively, more than 3 billion user accounts were affected in the four years of data breaches.
Under the terms of the settlement, there are four categories of consumers who are eligible for compensation if they had Yahoo services between Jan. 1, 2012, and Dec. 31, 2016:
Basic account holders: If you had a basic Yahoo account you can make a claim for a minimum of two years of credit monitoring services at no cost. If you can verify you already have credit monitoring or identity protection services you will keep for at least one year, you may instead claim a cash payment between $100 and up to $358.80.
Paid User claim: If you paid Yahoo for advertisement-free or premium email services, you are entitled to receive up to 25% of the amount you paid per year for Paid User services.
Small Business user: If you paid for small business email services you are entitled to receive up to 25% of the amounts you paid per year for Small Business email services up to a cap of $500 per year.
Residents of Israel: You are entitled to request reimbursement of out-of-pocket costs you believe you incurred as a result of the data breaches.
In addition, if you believe the data breaches hit you particularly hard and you had to spend time or money dealing with identity theft or other problems that may have stemmed from the hacks, you can file a claim for up to $25,000 in out-of-pocket losses. You are expected to produce supporting documentation.
Yahoo has set up a claims website to help you start the process.
Hacks and cash
The number of Yahoo account holders making claims could be very large. In an email sent to users last month, Yahoo detailed all the breaches:
2012 — Two separate hackers accessed Yahoo’s internal systems but didn’t take anything.
2013 — Hackers got into Yahoo’s database and took records from about 3 billion users’ accounts. The breach could have been much worse as the hackers could have gotten into users’ email accounts, calendars and contacts.
2014 — Hackers once again got into Yahoo’s user database and stole the names, email addresses, telephone numbers, birthdays, passwords, and security questions and answers from about 500 million accounts.
2015-2016 — Hackers used cookies to infiltrate about 32 million email accounts.
Yahoo is warning basic account holders that the amount of settlement money they receive will depend on how many people make claims. When all is said and done, claimants may not even get the full $100 — just remember what happened to Equifax users.
Millions of Americans submitted claims to get the $125 offered by Equifax as part of its $425 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over a massive data breach in 2017.
Consumers stampeded to claim their $125, not knowing there was a $31 million cap on cash claims. Now the amount is expected to drop to just a few dollars.
If you want to try your luck on the cash from the Yahoo settlement, you have until July 20, 2020, to stake your claim.