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AT&T workers stole almost 280,000 customers’ personal data: FCC

Wireless carrier AT&T will pay $25 million to settle charges that workers at several of its international call centers stole hundreds of thousands of customers’ personal information, U.S. federal regulators said Wednesday.

The breach involved AT&T workers in Mexico, Colombia and the Philippines who accessed almost 280,000 AT&T customers’ names, full or partial Social Security numbers and wireless account information, the Federal Communications Commission said. The workers then gave that information to groups of cell phone thieves attempting to unlock stolen devices.

“We’ve changed our policies and strengthened our operations,” AT&T said in a statement Wednesday. As part of the settlement, AT&T must notify any customers affected by the breach. But AT&T said it has “no reason to believe that the information was used for identity theft or financial fraud against our customers.”

AT&T, which is the second-largest wireless carrier in the U.S., reported a net loss of $4 billion, or 77 cents per share, in the fourth quarter.