Barclays bank is paying £500,000 in compensation to 2,000 customers (£250 each), after their personal data was found on a USB stick at a flat in southern England, reports the Herald in Scotland.
Police found the electronic device with the information late last year, and the bank has now responded in writing to the affected customers by offering them compensation for the data loss.
In the letter, Barclays said that a copy of ‘historic information' provided to Barclays Financial Planning had been recovered by police during a criminal investigation unrelated to the bank. It is believed that the USB stick was encrypted.
The letter stated: "The data taken included information you provided in meetings with a Barclays Financial Planning adviser prior to 2009.
"It includes details taken during the meeting...and the subsequent letter Barclays sent you containing our investment recommendations." It added that it may 'take some time' to establish how the theft happened.
Affected customers have also been offered the chance to have their details put on a credit checking scheme, in case their rating has been damaged by criminals using their leaked information.
A Barclays spokesman told the Scottish newspaper: "This is not a new theft of data from Barclays. Every indication is that the data here was part of the same theft of data that was reported last year, relating to data stolen in 2008.
"The details on the recently discovered USB data stick belong to a group of customers linked to the Barclays Financial Planning business, which ceased operating in 2011. The data concerned was from 2008 or earlier."