There’s some good news for people whose information was compromised in the massive T-Mobile data breach that occurred last August: a class action settlement has been announced.
Last month, a federal judge overseeing class action litigation against T-Mobile gave an initial green light to a $350 million settlement that looks to provide cash payments to those whose information was exposed during the breach.
People covered by the settlement will each be able to claim up to $25,000 for out-of-pocket losses resulting from the data breach, including for time spent addressing those losses, or an alternative cash payment of $25 (or $100 for California residents). The settlement will also provide two years of free identity defense services and access to fraud specialists.
T-Mobile has also agreed to spend at least $150 million bolstering its data security over the next few years in addition to the amount it had previously budgeted for cybersecurity.
Keep reading to find out how much you can expect to get from the settlement and what you’ll need to do to file a claim when the time comes.
Do I qualify for the T-Mobile data breach settlement?
The settlement covers roughly 76.6 million U.S. residents who were identified by T-Mobile as having had their information compromised in the data breach that occurred in August 2021.
You are not covered by the settlement if, before July 22, 2022, you filed or served an arbitration demand related to the data breach or provided written notice to T-Mobile of your intent to pursue arbitration against the company.
If you qualify for the settlement, you should expect to receive notice of the deal via mail, email or text message by late October 2022. The notices will look something like this. If you haven’t received notice by late October and are unsure whether you’re included in the settlement, you can call (833) 512-2314 to check.
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How will they know how to find me?
Now that the settlement has received the judge’s preliminary approval, T-Mobile will be asked to provide the settlement administrator with a list of people whose information was exposed so they can be notified. The list will include consumers’ first and last names, current addresses, cell phone numbers and email addresses if available. The settlement administrator will then crosscheck the list against the national change-of-address directory to find the most updated contact information for those covered by the settlement.
How do I file a claim?
It’s still too early to file a claim, but once the process starts, you’ll be able to submit your claim online at the official settlement website, T-MobileSettlement.com.
The deadline to file a claim will be January 23, 2023.
For now, you can find more information about the settlement on the website’s FAQs page.
How much will I get from the T-Mobile settlement?
Each person covered by the deal will be able to claim up to $25,000 in reimbursement for certain out-of-pocket losses they incurred on or after August 1, 2021 that are “fairly traceable” to the breach.
These out-of-pocket losses include:
Unreimbursed costs or expenses incurred as a result of identity theft, identity fraud, falsified tax returns or other alleged misuses of your personal information; Money spent placing or removing a security freeze on your credit report; Money spent on credit monitoring or identity theft protection; Other miscellaneous expenses related to out-of-pocket losses, such as notary, fax, copying, mileage and long-distance phone charges; and Professional fees paid to address identity theft, fraud or falsified tax returns.
You’ll be asked to provide “reasonable documentation” to support your claim for reimbursement. Documentation may include credit card statements, bank statements, invoices, telephone records and receipts.
In addition to the above out-of-pocket losses, those covered by the settlement can also claim reimbursement for time spent addressing fraud, identity theft or other alleged misuses of their personal information, as well as for time spent taking preventative measures such as reviewing accounts, placing or removing security freezes, or purchasing credit monitoring or identity protection.
Reimbursement for lost time will be paid at a rate of $25 per hour, or if you took time off work, at your documented hourly wage. You’ll be able to claim reimbursement for up to 15 hours for time related to addressing out-of-pocket losses and up to five hours for time not related to qualifying out-of-pocket losses.
Instead of filing a claim for reimbursement of out-of-pocket losses and/or lost time, those covered by the settlement can submit a claim for an alternative cash payment of $25, or $100 for those who lived in California on August 1, 2021.
It’s important to note that the amount each person gets could be increased or decreased depending on how many people file claims.
What other benefits does the settlement provide?
In addition to cash payments, those covered by the settlement are also eligible to receive two years of identity defense services provided by data security company Pango.
These services will include:
Credit monitoring from TransUnion; Access to a monthly credit score from TransUnion; Real-time inquiry/authentication alerts; Dark web monitoring; High-risk transaction monitoring; USPS address change monitoring and alerts; Lost wallet protection; Security freeze capabilities; Customer support and victim assistance; and $1 million identity theft insurance.
Separately, everyone covered by the settlement, even if they don’t submit a claim for any of the other benefits, will be eligible for restoration services provided by Pango. As part of these services, you’ll have access to U.S.-based fraud specialists who can help place fraud alerts with credit bureaus, dispute inaccurate information on your credit report, schedule calls with creditors or other service providers, and work with law enforcement and government agencies to dispute fraudulent information.
When will I get my settlement check?
Payments for valid claims will be sent out only after the settlement receives the judge’s final approval and any appeals are resolved in favor of the deal. A final approval hearing has been scheduled for January 13, 2023.
The T-Mobile data breach
Lawsuits against T-Mobile started streaming in after the telecom giant announced on August 16, 2021 that it had been the victim of a data breach during which an unauthorized individual gained access to the personal information of roughly 76 million people, including T-Mobile customers and consumers who had applied for credit with the company.
The information compromised in the breach included some combination of consumers’ names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, Social Security or tax identification numbers, other government ID numbers, account information, mobile phone identifier numbers, PINs and personal unlock codes.
The lawsuits, which were consolidated into multidistrict litigation in December 2021, accused T-Mobile of not doing enough to protect consumers’ information from unauthorized access. Though the company has agreed to settle the claims against it, the settlement agreement notes that T-Mobile “denies all material allegations” in the litigation.
The parties involved in the case stated in the agreement that they believe a settlement is in their best interests and that the deal is “fair, reasonable, and adequate.” U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes granted preliminary approval to the settlement on July 26, 2022.
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