An investigation is underway at Scotland’s largest council after a laptop computer containing personal data of almost 40,000 customers, including bank account details, was stolen.
Glasgow City Council (GCC) is to write to 37,835 customers after two laptops were taken during an office break-in late last month.
Bank account details of 16,451 customers were stored on one of the devices, while data loss for the remaining 21,384 customers remains limited to names and addresses. Suppliers, people receiving winter fuel payments and individuals in receipt of care grants all stand to be affected.
A full investigation has been launched by the council’s Internal Audit section while the Information Commissioner and Strathclyde Police have been contacted, GCC confirmed today, as it emerged the laptop, while password-protected, was not encrypted. No personal data was stored on the second laptop.
The extent of data loss remained unclear until last week, the council body added, after the laptop containing customers’ records was stolen from offices in Cochrane Street, Glasgow, sometime between Monday 28 and Tuesday 29 May.
A council spokesman said: “We are in the process of writing to the people affected by this theft to alert them to the data loss and offer them advice about what steps they might need to take.
“We’ve also provided them with a phone number they can use to contact us if they have any questions.
“We are sorry that this has happened and apologise for the inconvenience it has caused. Anyone with any information on the theft should contact Strathclyde Police.
“Customers should remember that no one from the council would ever call at their home or telephone them to ask for personal information, such as banking details. A bank will never ask for a customer’s PIN or for a whole security number or password.”
Affected customers with any questions have been urged to contact GCC on 0141 287 0400, while anyone with information on the theft or who wants to report suspicious activity has been asked to contact their local police office.