HSBC facing probe over lost customer data disc

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The Independent Online

Banking giant HSBC today faced the prospect of an investigation by the City watchdog after admitting it had lost a disc containing details of 370,000 customers.







The disc went missing around four weeks ago after being sent from the group's offices in Southampton to a reinsurer with an external courier.



It contained the names, dates of birth and insurance cover levels of people with life assurance at the bank, generally linked to a mortgage.



HSBC has informed the Financial Services Authority (FSA) about the breach and it is thought the group could be investigated and face a fine if the regulator finds that security was lax.



The City watchdog has previously fined firms for not having proper systems in place to protect customers' data.



It fined insurer Norwich Union £1.26 million in December for not having effective controls in place, enabling fraudsters to get hold of customers' details and cash in £3.3 million of policies.



Nationwide was also fined £980,000 last year after a laptop which contained confidential customer details was stolen from an employee's home.



An HSBC spokesman said: "We are looking into it and basically it has got lost from A to B. The reinsurer we sent it to is doing a thorough search for the disc. We will do anything we can to find it."



He added: "There are no financial details there in terms of banking details. There are no address details or anything like that. The possibility of anybody being able to commit fraud with them is quite limited."



An FSA spokesman declined to comment on an individual case.



HM Revenue & Customs last year lost computer discs containing the names, addresses, dates of birth, child benefit numbers, National Insurance numbers and bank or building society account details of 25 million child benefit recipients.

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