British lender Wonga warns customers of personal data hack

Miranda GreerApr 11, 2017

It is understood that up to 270,000 new and former customers, including 245,000 in the United Kingdom, could have been affected by the data breach, which was discovered on Friday.

"We believe there may have been illegal and unauthorised access to the personal data of some of our customers", a statement issued by the company reads.

The company reportedly discovered the breach last week but only realised that customers' account details were at risk on Friday 7th and then began notifying them the following day.

In a statement, the firm said: "We are working closely with authorities and we are in the process of informing affected customers. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused", Wonga said.

It says it does not believe customers' Wonga account passwords were compromised but suggests concerned users change their password anyway. In this case, the notification appears to have been written to minimise Wonga's liability - it does not deal with the bank account information lost, and instead focuses on credit card information which was not fully exposed in the breach.

The payday lender believes information may have been taken in a cyber attack - something that's affected several high profile companies in recent years, including Yahoo, Tesco Bank and TalkTalk.

The data breach is a blow to the company as it strives to rebuild its business in the wake of a string of scandals and a regulatory crackdown in the United Kingdom market.

Following news of the Wonga breach breaking out, a spokeswoman for the Information Commissioner's Office said: "All organisations have a responsibility to keep customers' personal information secure", the BBC reported.

Wonga has been praised for its apparent quick reaction to the breach and rapid notification of customers, but some questioned the nature of the company's response. Be cautious of anyone who calls you and asks you to disclose any personal information regardless of where they say they are from.

This followed several high-profile incidents which saw Wonga slammed for charging customers thousands in annual percentage rates and for fake legal letters.

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