Halifax reports theft of mortgage customer information
Halifax, part of the HBOS Group (LSE: HBOS), has reported that a briefcase stolen from an employee’s car last Wednesday night contained the personal details of around 13,000 mortgage customers. The bank has said that the theft was reported promptly to both the police and to the Financial Services Authority, but that it did not believe that any of the information stolen could be used by the thief or thieves to gain access to customers’ accounts.
According to the bank, a small number of the customer records contained names, addresses, mortgage account numbers and balances; the rest only recorded the name, mortgage account number, and approval status of the mortgage. None, the bank insisted, contained any details concerning customers’ bank accounts, personal identification numbers, passwords, or other details. Still, it said it had taken steps to protect the customers, and it has written to all affected customers to inform them of the incident and to apologize.
The Financial Services Authority, which regulates banks, did not comment on this most recent theft, but said in general that it takes information security very seriously. Just last month, the FSA fined Nationwide nearly £1 million over the theft of a laptop computer that contained customer information because, it said, Nationwide did not train employees adequately to deal with such a theft. In that case, the employee who had the laptop was said not to have reported the theft right away.