Thousands of HSBC private bank account details stolen
by Gill Montia
HSBC has confirmed that around 24,000 customers of its Swiss private bank had their personal details stolen three years ago.
Since then, 15,000 accounts have remained active, although HSBC does not believe they can be accessed by anyone in possession of the data.
Former HSBC IT employee, Hervé Falciani, is alleged to have stolen the information, which eventually ended up with authorities in France.
According to reports, the bank only became aware of the extent of the breach when the Swiss Federal Prosecutor was alerted earlier this month.
HSBC says it will be writing to all clients affected (past and present), some of whom are likely to be British.
In July 2009, three subsidiaries of HSBC were fined for not adequately protecting their customers’ confidential details.
The Financial Services Authority handed down penalties totalling over £3 million to HSBC Life UK, HSBC Actuaries and Consultants, and HSBC Insurance Brokers.
The regulator found that staff were not given sufficient training on how to identify and manage risks, and were prone to leaving confidential information on open shelves or in unlocked cabinets.
In addition, large volumes of unencrypted customer details were being sent to third parties via post or courier.
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