Germany facing new data theft scandal

15th December 2008, Comments 0 comments

The names of customers from all over Germany, their addresses, credit card and bank account numbers were sent to a German newspaper.

Berlin -- German police launched an investigation Saturday into the theft of confidential data on more than 10,000 credit card holders from a Berlin bank.

The information was apparently stolen from the Landesbank Berlin (LBB) and anonymously sent to the newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau.

A spokesman for Frankfurt in Frankfurt said initial investigations had shown that no serious abuse could be caused with the data. It was not possible to use the information to withdraw money or to copy the credit cards, a police spokesman said.

The names of customers from all over Germany, their addresses, credit card and bank account numbers as well as details of transactions were included in the microfiche copies sent to the newspaper in a parcel.

The LBB said the data did not contain customers' PIN numbers. There was no danger of them being cheated of their money, the bank said in a statement.

"Should any damage occur the Landesbank Berlin will ... ensure that this is not passed on to customers." the statement said.

LBB said it had immediately filed charges against those responsible and launched an internal investigation after learning of the theft on Friday.

Security arrangements of external firms involved in data processing for the bank would also be reviewed, it said.

The LBB is one of Germany's biggest issuers of credit cards. The sensitive data also contained information on holders of credit cards of the German motoring club ADAC and the internet bookseller Amazon, according to the Frankfurter Rundschau.

The theft overshadowed all previous cases in size and the quality of data, Thilo Weichert, director of the Independent Centre for Privacy Protection in Schleswig-Holstein, told the Berliner Zeitung newspaper.

It is the latest in a series of data theft scandals in Germany, including several at telecommunications giant Deutsche Telekom.


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