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UK bank exposes details of 75,000 accounts

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An Aberdeen woman found a novel way to receive highly confidential information on 75,000 clients of the Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS): she simply requested her statement.

Stephanie McLaughlan received the mother lode, which comprised five packages of 500 pages containing 30 accounts each. Details included account numbers, withdrawals and other transaction information. The Netherkirkgate mother of one returned the booty and reported the blunder to bank officials.

It just the latest snafu by a UK bank. In October, a server glitch locked HSBC customers out of their accounts, leaving some caught at shop counters unable to pay for their purchases. The bank called the incident a "minor issue" at the time.

"It was a major, major screw-up on the bank's part," McLaughlan told the Press and Journal of HBOS's mass mail-out. She said will likely change banks.

A spokesman for the bank said officials are starting an investigation into how the incident happened. A spokeswoman for the Financial Services Authority declined to comment on the matter, but said the agency takes customer confidentiality seriously. ®

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