Audi, Volkswagen data breach affects 3.3 million customers


Audi and Volkswagen have suffered a data breach affecting 3.3 million customers after a vendor exposed unsecured data on the Internet.

Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (VWGoA) is the North American subsidiary of the German Volkswagen Group. It is responsible for US and Canadian operations for Volkswagen, Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, and VW Credit, Inc.

According to data breach notifications filed with the California and Maine Attorney General’s office, VWGoA disclosed that a vendor left unsecured data exposed on the Internet between August 2019 and May 2021.

On March 20th, VWGoA was notified by the vendor that an unauthorized person had accessed the data and may have obtained the customer information for Audi, Volkswagen, and some authorized dealers.

VWGoA states that the breach involved 3.3 million customers, with over 97% of those affected relating to Audi customers and interested buyers.

The data exposed varies per customer but could range from contact information to more sensitive information such as social security numbers and loan numbers.

“The data included some or all of the following contact information about you: first and last name, personal or business mailing address, email address, or phone number. In some instances, the data also included information about a vehicle purchased, leased, or inquired about, such as the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), make, model, year, color, and trim packages,” explains the VWGoA data breach notification first reported by TechCrunch.

“The data also included more sensitive information relating to eligibility for a purchase, loan, or lease. More than 95% of the sensitive data included was driver’s license numbers. There were also a very small number of dates of birth, Social Security or social insurance numbers, account or loan numbers, and tax identification numbers.”

For those customers 90,000 customers who had more sensitive information exposed, Volkswagen is providing free credit protection and monitoring services, including $1 million of insurance against identity theft.

VWGoA began notifying affected customers and prospective customers yesterday via mail and warn that customers should be on the lookout for suspicious emails, calls, or texts.

What should Audi and Volkswagen customers do?

As the Audi and Volkswagen data was unsecured for a long time, there is no telling how many people had gained unauthorized access.

Therefore, all communications claiming to be from Audi or Volkswagen should be treated suspiciously, especially email or SMS text messages.

For those who had more sensitive data exposed, you should freeze your credit report to make it harder for third parties to perform identity theft and take credit out under your name.

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