If you had a Yahoo email account between 2012 and 2016, you may have some money coming your way. That's because of a $50 million settlement between the former company and lawyers representing some of the many millions of account holders whose data was compromised as a result of the breach.
Hackers--some linked to Russia--compromised all three billion Yahoo accounts in 2013 and 2014, but the company didn't disclose the breach until 2016, a delay for which it has already been fined $35 million by the Securities and Exchange Commission. This new settlement is the result of a two-year-old lawsuit covering approximately 200 million people in the U.S. and Israel whose information was stolen. Before the settlement is finalized, it will need approval from a federal judge in San Jose.
In the settlement, Yahoo account holders will be compensated for the time they spent dealing with effects of the breach, such as identity theft or delayed tax refunds. Account holders can receive $25 an hour for their time up to a maximum of 15 hours, or $375, if they can document how that time was spent. Those who can't can still claim five hours of time, or $125. Account holders who paid for a premium account will be eligible for a 25 percent refund. And all account holders will also receive two years of credit monitoring from AllClear.
All this will be paid for with money from a $50 million fund Yahoo must create to compensate users. Of course, there is no Yahoo as such anymore. In the fallout after the breach was disclosed, Verizon completed its purchase of most of Yahoo, ending its history as a publicly traded company and Marissa Mayer's controversial run as CEO. Adding to its embarrassment, Yahoo had to lower its purchase price by $350 million after news of the breach came out.
Since then, Verizon has folded Yahoo and some AOL assets into the confusingly named Oath. Meanwhile, Yahoo's stake in Alibaba and Yahoo Japan went to the newly formed Altbaba, which also inherited Yahoo's cash and the liability for shareholder lawsuits--it paid the SEC fine. Under the deal, Verizon and Altbaba will each put up half the $50 million to compensate users.
If you had a Yahoo account during the breach period, how will you get your money? For the moment, this is only a preliminary settlement. A hearing for final approval is scheduled for November 29. If the judge gives the green light, notices will be emailed to affected account holders and published in People and National Geographic. Stay tuned.