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Around 270,000 customers of “pay day loan firm” Wonga have had their personal information accessed after hackers broke in to the loan company’s customer database.
The company said they’re looking into the incident and are “urgently investigating illegal and unauthorised access to the personal data of some of its customers in the UK and Poland”.
With data like bank details and other personal information accessed, customers may now be at serious risk of financial losses, as well as further breaches and serious distress.
Professor Alan Woodward, a cybersecurity expert at the University of Surrey, believes this may be the biggest data breach in the UK where financial information was stolen.
Given that Wonga’s business is to provide people with short-term loans, many of the victims of the breach may already be financially vulnerable, and this data breach may cause further financial problems and distress.
The information believed to have been accessed includes:
As such, the nature of the information that’s been compromised is very sensitive and has clearly put customers at risk.
The hacking has been met with a lot of anger and anxiety given the nature of the personal information accessed, and we know hackers can go on to do much more damage with such information as well. Scammers and cyber-criminals will further exploit victims of data breaches by contacting them and claiming to be from authorised businesses in order to get more information or money out of the victims.
The TalkTalk hack was a clear example of this were numerous people were contacted by scammers who said they were form TalkTalk and had all their customer information, and were able to steal money from victim’s accounts.
Of the 270,000 data breach victims, some 245,000 are British customers.
In England and Wales, citizens are protected by Data Protection laws and the principles that organisations like Wonga must abide by. We take data breaches here very seriously, and if any organisation or individual is suspected to have breached Data Protection laws, they can be held to account.
Over the weekend, Wonga reportedly informed customers of the breach that may have compromised their personal information by sending out messages via email and text such as the following:
“We believe there may have been illegal and unauthorised access to some of your personal data on your Wonga.com account”
Customers are advised to be extra vigilant in looking for suspicious activity.
Wonga said: “We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused”, but this may not be enough for victims of the breach.
We’ve already been contacted by a number of victims and we are investigating cases.
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