The Oxford and Cambridge Club, one of the United Kingdom’s most elite gentlemen’s clubs open to alumni of the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, has called in the Metropolitan police and private investigators after being hit by the theft of online data of its 5,000 members.
Alistair Telfer, the club’s secretary, has written to all members by email and followed it up with a letter — seen by the newspaper — urging them to check bank accounts regularly for “suspicious activity” and has warned them to be alert to potential identity theft, after a hard drive was stolen from the club’s headquarters which consisted of data of the members. Members were informed that they could be at risk of fraud attempts.
“We have been advised that we should write to confirm that there may have been a data breach at the Club which could possibly result in disclosure of your personal data held on the Club computer system,” Telfer wrote.
The breach at Pall Mall street in central London has put the personal details of many members at risk, including comedian, actor and author Stephen Fry; Lord Rees, the astronomer royal; the former master of Trinity College. Though Queen Elizabeth II’s husband and the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip and his son, Prince Charles — both honorary members of the club — were not affected by the break-in, ‘The Sunday Telegraph’ reported.
A backup computer drive, described as the size of a toaster, was taken from a locked “comms” room inside the club’s headquarters earlier this month. The information on the hard drive includes members’ names, home and email addresses, phone numbers, some bank account details, dates of birth and even photographs. The database did not hold information about members’ credit or debit cards.
The theft was discovered on November 16, but has only just been reported amid a police investigation.