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Barclays launches investigation after customer data leak

(Reuters) - Barclays said it had launched an investigation after a newspaper reported that the personal details of 27,000 customers had been stolen and sold, raising the prospect of new fines for the bank.

Confidential information on customers' earnings and health as well as passport details had ended up for sale, The Mail on Sunday reported, citing data provided to it by a whistleblower.

Barclays said it had notified regulators and started an investigation, the initial findings of which suggested the files were linked to the Barclays Financial Planning business which closed in 2011.

"This appears to be criminal action and we will co-operate with the authorities on pursuing the perpetrator," the bank said in a statement on Sunday.

The data leak is a new blow for the British bank after a string of scandals for mis-selling payment protection insurance and manipulating benchmark interest rates, which have resulted in billions of pounds in fines and compensation payouts.

The bank could face new fines should it be found at fault over this data leak.

Britain's data privacy watchdog, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), can impose fines of up to 500,000 pounds for serious breaches of the country's data protection rules, while Britain's financial watchdog, The Financial Conduct Authority, has the power to impose unlimited fines.

The ICO said in a statement that it would be working with the newspaper and police to find out what has happened.

The Mail on Sunday said it had been shown 2,000 files on the bank's customers some of which were 20 pages long and containing some of the individuals' attitudes to risk. The whistleblower said there were 25,000 more files on a database.

According to the newspaper, the stolen data is worth millions on the black market because it allows rogue brokers to target people in investment scams.

Barclays thanked the Mail on Sunday for bringing the data leak to its attention.

"Protecting our customers' data is a top priority and we take this issue extremely seriously," Barclays said in its statement.

"We would like to reassure all of our customers that we have taken every practical measure to ensure that personal and financial details remain as safe and secure as possible."

Barclays has been trying to rebuild its reputation after becoming the first bank fined for its part in a global scam to manipulate Libor benchmark interest rates in 2012. The Libor scandal led to the resignation of chief executive Bob Diamond and chairman Marcus Agius.

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itooso February 10 2014 at 6:52 AM

Cash is safer to use than cards nowadays with all this information stolen from major stores or banks. Only use my card when making plane reservations.

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pearlnestor1 February 10 2014 at 2:26 AM

Which is why I never keep a lot of money in banks. I only keep enough in it to cash checks and keep it open. I also have cash but I know where to hide it, but I know it's handy. Cash is also faster at the checkout counter, wish I had a dime for every time someone had to swipe their card twice while I was waiting. No one ever had to wait behind me. I love cash!

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Hilde February 10 2014 at 1:24 AM

"This appears to be criminal", well, I'm glad they figured that one out.

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Scooter February 09 2014 at 11:20 PM

What does DELOITTE have to do with it??

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ELRIE BODDEN February 09 2014 at 9:31 PM

it's the banks that control and run the world not governments

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Kate Hanni February 09 2014 at 9:21 PM

It's not just their investment clients data that was breached. It was all of their credit card customers. And I personally had fraud 4 times on my card last year. The last time there was a breach Barclays just mailed everyone a new card with a new number before we even were aware there was fraud.

Then at the end of 2013 Barclays discontinued the VISA program and began a Mastercard program. It's absurd. With all of the credit cards I have, that's the only one that had massive breaches and fraud on a regular basis.

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Elaine February 09 2014 at 7:14 PM

It just goes on and on as long as we slap their hands. Slap them in jail and it will stop. What a joke on the people that are harmed by these thieves.

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johnpapajack February 09 2014 at 7:13 PM

" this appears to be a criminal action".............no, really?

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noknrc February 09 2014 at 6:59 PM

This is nothing and only will get worse due to the condition of the global economy. People living in counties with weak internet laws will continue to find ways to steal and sell your personal information. It seems the internet is the new market place for thief's.

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liquidwallpaper February 09 2014 at 6:56 PM

American banks can't be trusted either. They have taken advantage of the American consumer and our own government. They are a country of their own and can ruin or support our economy. It is up to US consumers to begin organized boycotts of the biggest tow banks to change the way they do business so that Us citizens are no longer abused,

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1 reply to liquidwallpaper's comment
homeskilat February 10 2014 at 6:06 AM

Been monitoring my ank for 28 months now, basicaly they follow every aggressive means to pull in, deplete persons monies so no power or shield to protect yourself, abuse,confuse, fraud, deceipt, concepts such as changing atm cards limits while not e able to pull a mere acct balance from an atm. they monitor your every move better than your own wife, they utilize such concepts as hi/lo transactions, find out what your direct deposit will be then hide, see what epays you have paid quickly run transactions and hopefully bring bad misfortunes to another bank and definitely choosing to to work with fellow teamates as jp morgan and bank of america. AND ABOVE ALL, THE CONCEPT OF HAVING THE CUSTOMER SPEND MONEY HE HAD WISH HE HADN;T ...ALL THESE PROVEN WORKBLE ITEMS ARE VERY EASY to set in place and before u relizae what hit you they basically have ripped your AMERICAN DREAM APART. long process to fight, but i have made great strides already. WOULD LOVE TO IMMEDIATELY STRIKE WITH LARGE CLASS ACTION AGAINST PNC, and as i READ IN OTHER BLOGS, NOT MUCH LIKED BY ANYONE

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