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April 22nd, 2008

Bank of Ireland Lost Laptops Affect 10000 customers

Four laptops containing the personal details of 10,000 Bank of Ireland customers have been stolen, the bank confirmed Monday. The laptops contained information relating to some customers who either obtained a quote or took out a Life Assurance policy with Bank of Ireland Life from the following branches: Drogheda, Dunleer, Bagnelstown, Court Place Carlow, Stephens Green, Tallaght, Montrose. Anybody who is not a customer of these branches is not affected by this incident. The four laptops all disappeared in Ireland, at least one of them from a bank worker’s home.

Ireland’s second-largest bank made the admission after the chief regulator, Data Protection Commissioner Billy Hawkes, told Irish broadcasters RTE he had been informed of the lost customers’ data only last Friday. Bank of Ireland said the four laptops disappeared between June and October 2007 and contained the names, addresses, bank account details and medical histories of about 10,000 holders of the bank’s life insurance policies.

Commenting on the delay in reporting the thefts to the regulatory authorities, managing director Brian Forester said internal procedures had not been followed. The bank said it had found “no evidence of fraudulent or suspicious activity on any of these accounts.”

The customers’ personal data was not encrypted to prevent easy access. The bank said it was beginning to encrypt customers’ data on its remaining 5,000 laptops.

A help-line has been set up to handle any customer queries at 1850-365-365. This customer help-line will be open from 9.00am to 6.00pm Monday to Friday.

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