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April 7th, 2008

HSBC Banking Group Lost 370,000 Customers Details

The HSBC banking group has admitted losing a computer disc with the details of 370,000 customers. The disc was lost four weeks ago after being sent by courier from the bank’s life insurance offices in Southampton. The customers’ details included their names, dates of birth, and their levels of insurance cover. No addresses or bank account details were lost and HSBC said the customers’ exposure to potential fraud was limited.The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has been informed of the data loss and is likely to mount an investigation. In the past year, both the Nationwide building society and the Norwich Union insurance company have suffered heavy fines and public reprimands for not looking after customer details properly.

Despite the reassurances from HSBC, the bank admitted that although the data on the disc was protected by a password it had not been encrypted. A bank spokesman explained that normally the data on its life insurance customers was sent to its reinsurance firm in Folkestone by an electronic link. The bank will shortly be writing to all the customers while it investigates the loss along with the reinsurance firm.

The HSBC incident is just the latest example of careless behaviour by a big organization regarding personal information. Since the loss of the child benefit data by the HMRC last November, similar losses have been happening every month. The failings include:

Laptop computer with the personal details of more than 200 children was stolen from a medical center in Shropshire.
The Courts Service lost four CDs in the post with personal details from court cases.
Information about nearly 600,000 people went missing when a Royal Navy officer had his laptop stolen from a car in Birmingham.
Hundreds of documents from the Department of Work and Pensions containing sensitive personal data were found dumped on a roundabout in Devon.
Nine NHS trusts in England admitted losing patient records covering hundreds of thousands of adults.
Details of 14,000 customer records were lost by the Skipton building society.
Ministers revealed in December that, earlier in 2007, details of three million candidates for the driving theory test had gone missing while being processed in the US.

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    One Response to “HSBC Banking Group Lost 370,000 Customers Details”

    1. At least we now know why they chose that logo!

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