Belfast Telegraph

Wonga data breach: PSNI issues advice and tips to stay safe

The PSNI has said the Northern Ireland public should be aware that their personal and financial details may have been compromised following a data breach at Wonga the payday loans company on Sunday.

Almost a quarter of a million of Wonga's UK customers may have been affected.

The payday lender said it is investigating "illegal and unauthorised access" to some of its customers' personal information in both Britain and Poland.

Stolen data may include account numbers, sort codes, addresses and the last four digits of users' bank cards.

Around 245,000 customers may have been affected in the UK, and 25,000 in Poland, a spokeswoman confirmed.

Detective Chief Inspector Dougie Grant said: "The PSNI has been made aware that some people in Northern Ireland may have accessed Wonga for a loan. Therefore, we would like to offer some advice to potential victims to be aware of:

  • If any of your financial details were compromised, notify your bank or card company as soon as possible. Review your financial statements regularly for any unusual activity.
     
  • Criminals can use personal data obtained from a data breach to commit identity fraud. Consider using credit reference agencies, such as Experian or Equifax, to regularly monitor your credit file for unusual activity.
     
  • Be suspicious of any unsolicited calls, emails or texts, even if it appears to be from a company you know of. Don’t open the attachments or click on links within unsolicited emails, and never disclose any personal or financial details during a cold call.
     
  • If you suspect you may have been a victim of cyber-crime, please report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, or visit actionfraud.police.uk"

The firm, which said it knew something had happened by Tuesday but did not become aware of a data breach until Friday, said it believes users' accounts are secure and no action needs to be taken.

Customers have been warned to look out for any "unusual activity".

The spokeswoman added: "Wonga is urgently investigating illegal and unauthorised access to the personal data of some of its customers in the UK and Poland.

"We are working closely with authorities and we are in the process of informing affected customers.

"We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused."

The Information Commissioner's Office have been informed.

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