Target breach settlementA settlement has been reached for consumers affected by the 2013 Target data breach which promises a $10 million payout. The breach, which compromised the credit and debit cards as well as personal contact information for more than 100 million customers, marked the beginning of a string of major corporation breaches over the past two years. According to USA Today, the terms of the settlement were agreed upon in March and preliminary approval came at the end of May. The class-action lawsuit was originally three lawsuits — two in California and one in Oregon — which were eventually combined. In addition to the $10 million payout, the Target breach settlement requires the retailer to pay up to $6.75 million in legal fees to the attorneys representing the plaintiffs.

The company has also agreed to increase its security, including maintaining a program that identifies internal and external risks to shoppers’ information, institution of a process for monitoring information security risks and employee security training. Target’s security measures came under fire in the aftermath, so it’s certainly understandable why part of the settlement would require stricter security measures.

How do I know if I’m part of the Target breach settlement?

If you were one of the more than 100 million consumers affected by the breach, you may be eligible to receive money. You are part of the settlement if you shopped at a Target store and used your credit/debit card between November 27 and December 18, 2013, you provided your contact information to Target any time before December 18, 2013 or you were issued a new credit/debit card shortly after December 2013 and an accompanying letter said your old card had been compromised. Some people may have received an email alerting them to the lawsuit, although these emails could have been sent to your spam folder or deleted if you thought it was suspicious.

How can I submit a claim?

In order to submit a claim, you must visit the official Target breach settlement website and either submit a form online or download, print and mail one by July 31, 2015.

The burden of proof of losses is on consumers in this case. According to the settlement website, in order to be awarded money, your claim must show at least one of the following:

  • unauthorized, unreimbursed credit or debit card charges
  • time spent addressing unauthorized charges
  • higher interest rates on the account or paid by you
  • loss of or restricted access to funds
  • fees paid on your accounts
  • cost of hiring someone to correct your credit reports
  • credit-related costs, including credit report monitoring or paying for copies of your credit reports

According to legal experts, it will be difficult for most people to collect the settlement’s maximum $10,000 payout. Proving harm due to a breach can be hard to do, especially considering most credit card companies won’t hold consumers responsible for fraudulent charges. If you did end up paying for a fraudulent transaction, you must submit paperwork to document that it was paid and you were unsuccessful in your attempt to get it reversed. Depending on how many people put in a claim, experts are estimating that the majority will receive $50 to $100. Target is not allowed to keep a portion of the settlement money, but it isn’t known what will happen with any remaining funds after all claims are processed.

To learn more about data breaches and how to protect yourself and your identity, read our identity theft protection blog for tips and up-to-date information.