ShareThis Page

1.6 million affected by data breach at platform acquired by PayPal

Brian C. Rittmeyer
| Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, 10:57 a.m.

A data breach at PayPal has compromised the bank account information and social security numbers of 1.6 million users in the United States and Canada.

The Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection said PayPal contacted it about the breach.

According to the Attorney General's office, the breach happened on TIO Networks in July, before PayPal bought the company. TIO suspended operations in November after discovering the breach.

PayPal told the Bureau of Consumer Protection that hackers may have obtained names, addresses, bank account information, social security numbers and login details of 1.6 million TIO users.

TIO Networks, formerly a Canadian-based payment firm, made digital bill payment tools for utilities and operated a network of kiosks in retail stores. Many of the consumers who used TIO's payment methods were lower-income consumers, according to the Attorney General's office.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro said PayPal is working with state officials to protect consumers.

PayPal said it has reached out to billers to obtain addresses for potentially affected consumers, and expects to mail notices to them soon. The company said free credit monitoring will be provided to those affected by the breach.

“We appreciate Attorney General Shapiro's recognition of PayPal's proactive efforts to address the TIO Networks situation,” PayPal spokesman Justin Higgs said in response to a request for comment. “We will continue to put customers first, and to work cooperatively with regulators, officials and our billing partners throughout this process.”

Shapiro noted that PayPal's actions are in stark contrast to how credit monitoring service Equifax responded to a breach impacting at least 145 million people, including 5.5 million Pennsylvania residents, earlier this year.

“They knew of a potential problem in March, and specifically learned of the breach in July — yet alerted no one until September,” a news release from the Attorney General's office says.

Shapiro has demanded that Equifax disclose exactly when it learned of the breach and what it did about it. Equifax eventually relented to demands from Shapiro and others to offer free credit monitoring to affected consumers.

In the PayPal case, the Bureau of Consumer Protection is demanding to know the exact date PayPal discovered the hack, the number of affected users in Pennsylvania and nationwide, and the specific kinds of information and data that were compromised.

“We want Pennsylvanians who believe they've been affected by this latest breach or the other breaches to file complaints with us,” Shapiro said. “Our goal is to force change in corporate behavior, so companies entrusted with our most secure information take substantive steps and implement the best technology to safeguard it better in the future.”

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4701, brittmeyer@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BCRittmeyer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.