If You Were Subject to the Data Breaches of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and Its Contractor (Peraton Risk Decision Inc.), and You Experienced an Out-of-Pocket Loss After the Breaches, You Could Be Eligible for a Payment from a Class Action Settlement…
It sounds like the low-voice narration you might hear coming across your television screen announcing the latest class action lawsuit settlement, but like most legal rulings, it pays to read the fine print. As we wrote about earlier this month, the Office of Personnel Management and its contractor, Peraton Risk Decision, reached a $63 million lawsuit settlement related to the 2014 and 2015 breaches of the personal data of more than 20 million security clearance applicants.
The path to payment involves an individual demonstrating they faced some out of pocket expense related to the data breach. Simply having received a notice that your data was compromised will not be enough to get you the average of $700 the settlement lawsuit promises.
“Like many things in life, this settlement sounds great until you read the fine print,” said Sean Bigley, security clearance attorney. “It isn’t a windfall of cash; it is reimbursement for actual and identifiable damages. Unless you can document outlays of cash or time taken off work specifically to remediate the fallout of the breach, you probably won’t be seeing any money.”
Documentation would be key here – there would need to be a demonstrated loss related directly to the OPM data breach. If you haven’t lost money or had specific damages that you can tie directly to the breach, and that you’ve documented over the five years since it happened, you likely wouldn’t be eligible for any funds.
The court will be reviewing the settlement in October, and individuals will have until December to file damages. Those who file for damages will be issued a minimum of $700, with a maximum ceiling of $10,000 if the individual can demonstrate damages of that scale.
All individuals affected by the breach were offered credit monitoring services through ID Experts. The $63 million of the settlement is a drop in the bucket compared to the contracts the government has already awarded for credit monitoring services, including the ID Experts contract which was issued with an award ceiling of $416 million. Those affected in the breach were able to sign up for credit monitoring through the OPM contract with the ID Experts at MyIDCare.com.
If you did have your data compromised and experienced some form of tangible financial damage related to the breach, the news of the OPM lawsuit is for you. If you’re like the rest of us and either signed up for OPM’s credit monitoring without incident or did nothing at all, unfortunately you would not be eligible for funding through the settlement.