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Fraud body calms PSN identity theft fear

"No need to contact banks at this stage."

The UK financial services industry has moved to calm growing fear among PlayStation gamers that they may be the victim of identity theft following the PlayStation Network security breach.

Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK), an organisation that co-ordinates fraud prevention in the UK, has told Eurogamer that there is no need for gamers to cancel their credit cards "at this stage".

The comments come amid growing intensity around Sony, which confirmed last night that over 70 million PSN users have had their personal details stolen by a hacker.

Worryingly, Sony is unable to say whether credit card details have also been compromised.

Now, as revealed by Eurogamer, the Information Commissioner's Office is involved – and may bring action against Sony if it finds it in breach of the Data Protection Act.

Despite this, the FFA warned against an overreaction.

"FFA UK has been made aware that out of the 70 million Sony PlayStation accounts compromised worldwide in the Sony PlayStation Network incident, three million are based in the UK," the organisation told Eurogamer.

"Sony has not yet confirmed if card details have been compromised but FFA UK is liaising closely with Sony with regard to this.

"The banking industry has robust processes in place to protect its customers' accounts by monitoring for suspicious or irregular card transactions. If Sony confirms that card details have been compromised, and provides details to us of those accounts, card issuers can place alerts on these accounts. Further steps, such as blocking the account and/or issuing new cards can be taken if necessary.

"There is no need for customers to contact their bank or card company at this stage. However, customers should continue to do what they should normally be doing - checking their statement and keeping a close eye on their account for any unusual activity – if they spot any they should then contact their bank or card company."

However, FFA UK recommends gamers who use the same passwords for their PlayStation account as they do for other financial accounts change these passwords to something else "as soon as possible".

"Similarly, customers may have had their email addresses and telephone numbers compromised in this incident, so they should be wary of responding to any unsolicited emails or telephone calls that ask for sensitive or financial information."

The FFA reiterated information provided to Eurogamer by consumer advice organisation Which? earlier today, and reassured those worried that they will not lose money as a result of the security breach.

"In the event that anyone is the innocent victim of fraud as a result of this incident, customers can have peace of mind that they will get their money back from their bank or card company."

The PSN identity theft furore is perhaps the most devastating crisis in PlayStation's history.

Last night Sony began sending emails to PSN users warning them their personal information, including PSN usernames and passwords, addresses and email addresses, had been stolen by an unauthorized user. There are 77 million PlayStation Network users across the world, and three million in the UK.

The service has been down since last Wednesday in the US, and many are now wondering why it took so long for Sony to warn its customers to change their passwords and check their credit card statements.

Sony also faces accusations that it failed to protect user data properly. It is currently rebuilding PSN in order to improve it.

Sony has apologised for the episode, and vowed to track down the hackers.