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December 4, 2017updated 08 Jul 2022 11:34am

PayPal’s TIO leaks personal data of 1.6 million customers

PayPal acquired the Canadian company for $233m in February.

By James Nunns

PayPal has revealed that there been a “potential compromise of personally identifiable information” of around 1.6 million customers.

The “potential compromise” is said to have come from TIO Networks, which PayPal acquired in February of this year for $233m.

The deal for the company closed in July and PayPal undertook a review of the Canadian company’s system – revealing issues that led to the suspension of TIO’s operations in November.

PayPal said that there had been evidence of unauthorised access to TIO’s network, “including locations that stored personal information of some of TIO’s customers and customers of TIO billers,” said the Canadian company.

TIO, which was acquired as part of  PayPal’s financial inclusion strategy, is a telecom, wireless, cable, and utility network operator that also offers bill payment services.

The firm is said to have begun working with the companies that it services to notify them that their PII data has potentially been exposed. There’s no word on what data may have been exposed though.

A move to try and soften the impact of the “potential compromise” has seen PayPal begin working with a consumer credit reporting agency for “free credit monitoring memberships,” and, “Individuals who are affected will be contacted directly and receive instructions to sign up for monitoring.”

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The free credit monitoring agency is Experian, and those affected will be able to receive 12 months free, or 24 months for those whose SSNs were exposed.

TIO is said to have processed over $7bn in consumer bill payments last year across around 16 million customer accounts.

Fortunately, TIO is yet to have been integrated into PayPal’s business, meaning that users of the service shouldn’t be affected – only those of TIO should be wary.

For those that are affected by this suspension of its services, the company said on its FAQ: “At this point, TIO cannot provide a timeline for restoring bill pay services, and continues to recommend that you contact your biller to identify alternative ways to pay your bills. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused to you by the disruption of TIO’s service.”

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