How to claim your $100 settlement if Yahoo leaked your data

Data breaches are unfortunately commonplace these days, with some of the most devastating incidents affecting millions of people. Possibly the worst ever was the breach of Yahoo that happened over the span of about four years.

Yahoo has since admitted more than 3 billion accounts were hacked during that time, and now the company is close to settling a multi-million dollar class-action lawsuit. And you might be entitled to monetary damages.

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If you had a Yahoo account during a certain period of time, you could be eligible to receive some monetary compensation. Depending on circumstances, that payout could be anywhere from $100 to up to $25,000.

Class-action suit payouts

Settlement money from a class-action lawsuit doesn’t usually amount to much, maybe a few dollars. Occasionally, class-action suits can be very profitable for people other than the attorneys. I’m a good example: I just received a check for almost $1,400. Tap or click here for class-action lawsuits paying out now from cars to smartphones.

In an email sent to users, Yahoo revealed it has received preliminary approval from a court for a $117.5 million settlement. The class-action lawsuit stems from a series of data breaches between 2012 and 2016. Here’s what happened:

2012 — Two separate hackers accessed Yahoo’s internal systems but didn’t take anything.

2013 — Hackers got into Yahoo's database and took records from about 3 billion users' accounts. The breach could have been much worse as the hackers could have gotten into users’ email accounts, calendars and contacts.

2014 — Hackers once again got into Yahoo’s user database and stole the names, email addresses, telephone numbers, birthdays, passwords, and security questions and answers from about 500 million accounts.

2015-2016 — Hackers used cookies to infiltrate about 32 million email accounts.

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If you had a Yahoo account during those years, you could be eligible for $100 in compensation or free credit monitoring — or much more if your identity was stolen.

How to get your money

So who is eligible? If you had a Yahoo account between Jan. 1, 2012 and Dec. 31, 2016, and you’re a resident of the U.S. or Israel, you can make a claim on the settlement.

Depending on circumstances, some Yahoo users could get as much as $25,000. To get that much, you would have to prove you had to spend time or money dealing with problems caused by the hack, such as identity theft. Small businesses and those who paid for premium Yahoo services may also get more money.

RELATED: After a data breach, your first priority is securing your accounts with new passwords. Tap or click for 5 rules for creating strong passwords that will keep hackers out.

If you're only eligible for the $100 and want that instead of free credit protection, you'll have to verify you’re already signed up for a credit-monitoring service. Before you get too excited though, remember what happened to Equifax users.

Millions of Americans submitted claims to get the $125 offered by Equifax as part of its $425 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over a massive data breach in 2017. Consumers stampeded to claim their $125 not knowing that there was a $31 million cap on cash claims.

The pool of money quickly shrank and consumers will have to settle for a few bucks or opt for free credit monitoring instead. The same thing could happen with Yahoo.

But if you want to try your luck on the cash, visit the Yahoo claim website and fill out the claim form that applies to you. You have until July 20, 2020 to stake your claim. But do it now while you’re thinking about it. Go to YahooDataBreachSettlement.com.

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Learn about all the latest technology on The Kim Komando Show, the nation's largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today's digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.