Thousands of people's bank details stolen from Eircom laptops
FEARS of identity theft after raiders target eircom laptops containing the personal information of Meteor and eMobile customers - all of which was left unencrypted.
The bank account details of 550 eMobile customers may also be in the public domain and could be at risk.
The details of 6,845 customers as well as 686 Meteor staff were on the laptops which have disappeared and were not encrypted.
Two of the computers containing customer details were stolen from Eircom's offices at Parkwest in Dublin over Christmas and another was taken from an employee's home.
Paul Bradley, head of communications with Eircom, said that the financial information of 550 customers could include bank account details and credit card details, but not the CCV code of the credit cards.
"We have worked through and now know exactly what data are at risk and for those customers that have the financial data at risk. All customers affected will be receiving a letter. These are customers who would have applied online and would have supplied a driving licence, a wedding certificate, some form of ID perhaps a utility bill."
Eircom also said that its agents are in the process of phoning all 550 customers whose financial data is at risk.
Gardai were notified in early January of the incidents and two investigations are under way. However, none of the three laptops have yet been recovered.
The company was at pains to point out that there was no evidence that the data at risk has been used by a third party.
The Data Protection Commissioner and the Irish Banking Federation have also been informed of the situation.
"The banks have been informed so that they can be aware if there is any irregular activity," Mr Bradley added.
"It is important to underline that at this point there is no evidence that it has been used in an untoward manner."
Eircom has begun its own internal investigation to find out why these laptops were not encrypted as it says it constitutes a breach of their policy.
The group currently has over 3,000 laptops which are encrypted.
"Eircom apologises to its customers. It is extremely regrettable," Mr Bradley said.
"We take data and its privacy very seriously. There have been a large number of resources working through to establish the number of customers whose data is at risk."
The two laptops that had eMobile customer data did not leave the office and were used by a team that handles and processes applications at the Park West facility in January.
In a separate incident in December, a laptop containing the names and addresses of 686 Meteor employees was stolen at an employee's home.