T-Mobile to pay millions to settle class-action suit over data breach

A mobile phone running on the T-Mobile wireless network.
A mobile phone running on the T-Mobile wireless network. (Photo: The Desk)

T-Mobile has agreed to pay more than $350 million to settle a class-action lawsuit that stemmed from a serious data breach that hit the company last year.

Current and former T-Mobile customers began receiving notices this week saying they are eligible for a $50 payment if they file a claim before next January. Residents in California are entitled to a $100 payment if they file a claim.

The class action lawsuit was filed last year after some T-Mobile customers accused the company of having subpar security measures, which opened the door for an unauthorized person to gain access to sensitive customer data.

At the time, T-Mobile said around 50 million current and former customers had their personal information stolen by hackers, with some of that data appearing on underground web forums. This week, lawyers representing class action plaintiffs said around 76 million customers were eligible for a payment from the settlement, suggesting the number of affected customers was significantly higher than initially reported.

The issue affected post-paid and prepaid wireless phone customers, as well as subscribers of T-Mobile’s prepaid brand Metro by T-Mobile (formerly MetroPCS). T-Mobile has not admitted to any wrongdoing.

In addition to the direct payments, the proposed settlement includes access to a restoration service provided by Pango, a company that helps settle cyber theft incidents. Even if a current or former customer refuses a settlement payment, they can still take advantage of the Pango service.

Eligible customers are being sent a special claim code by e-mail and through other means, with the first batch of those codes going out this week. Using that code, T-Mobile customers must file a claim on the T-Mobile Settlement website in order to receive a payment. Various methods are available to receive a payment, including PayPal, Venmo, a prepaid debit card and direct deposit to a checking or savings account.

To submit a claim, click or tap here. All claims must be filed by January 23, 2020. Claimants with questions about the settlement are asked to call 1-833-512-2314.

Eligible customers can also opt out of the settlement if they want to sue T-Mobile separately or take any other action. Customers who are eligible but who do not file a claim will not receive a payment and give up their right to take any additional action.

A federal court is expected to approve the settlement on January 20, 2023.