The Target data breach incident demonstrates the advantage of class action litigation to obtain monetary and other relief for consumers. The data breach occurred during the holiday shopping season of 2013 and affected millions of Target credit account cardholders.
According to the settlement, 42 million had account information stolen by the data breach and that about 60 million had other personal data, such as their phone numbers or email addresses, stolen during the incident.
For an individual, even if they suffered tangible financial losses, it would be unlikely that they could afford to hire a personal attorney to file a lawsuit in this matter. Even if you lost a $1,000 in unauthorized charges that you had pay, the costs of filing the case and having the attorney research the law and the facts of your situation, would likely far exceed the total of your damage.
With this settlement, accountholders who suffered monetary damages, from time spent attempting to clear of the unauthorized charges to the cost of obtaining credit reports and any unreimbursed charges themselves, are included in the settlement.
Of course, you will have to provide some support for any losses you suffered as a result of this data breach, but this is reasonable, and far less time consuming than filing your own lawsuit.
This settlement also imposes requirements of Target to improve their internal policies and procedures, to help prevent a reoccurrence of a data breach of this magnitude.
The Target data breach demonstrated the weakness of interconnected computer systems, with poor security protocols or protections. The hackers apparently first gained access to Target’s credit accounts by first hacking an HVAC contractor of Target.
Npr.org, “Target Offers $10 Million Settlement In Data Breach Lawsuit,” Miles Park, March 19, 2015