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T-Mobile pays out $350 million to customers in data breach settlement londonbusinessblog.com

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If you were one of the nearly 77 million people affected by last year’s T-Mobile breach, you might get a few bucks your way. The company just announced the terms of a settlement in a consolidated class action lawsuit, and it doesn’t come cheap: $350 million to be split between clients (and attorneys), plus $150 million “for data security and related technology.” Let this be a lesson to all businesses: if you stay ready, you don’t have to spend $150 million getting ready!

The burglary presumably took place at the beginning of last year, after which collections of T-Mobile customer data were offered for sale on various criminal forums. Estimates of the number affected have varied, with T-Mobile claiming that less than a million accounts and PINs were fully exposed (still not great), and somewhere between 40 and 100 million total users with some data.

The settlement, described in a SEC filing and court file (PDF) first spotted by Geekwire, doesn’t seem to have separate terms for people affected by the hack in any other way, but that could have been handled separately as far as we know. For now, the class defined by the settlement document is “the approximately 76.6 million U.S. residents identified by T-Mobile whose information was compromised in the data breach,” with a little extra legalese for Californians, where class actions are handled differently.

As is common in these gargantuan lawsuits, lawyers take a huge bite and then the company has to warn class members that they owe money, so you can expect a postcard if you were a T-Mobile customer in August 2021 (in the interest of of full disclosure, I was). Then the money is split depending on how many people respond and how much the lawyers take. Final settlement terms could be approved as early as December.

Chances are you won’t even be able to cover a single monthly mobile bill with what you get, but these days a $9 check can be the difference between “dinner” and “no dinner” for quite a bit. folks, so let’s not mock these small amounts – except it’s a little insulting to have five serious breaches in as many years and all customers get enough to order from the bargain menu.

The company, which merged with Sprint just before the breach, said in its SEC filing it will spend $150 million on improving its security, so maybe it’s taking things seriously now. Think we’ll know soon.

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