The latest loss of potential personal information about thousands of Canadians by a federal government department has been confessed by authorities, as they claim that so far there is no evidence to support that the missing data was used for fraudulent purposes. It was revealed by an employee of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, on Nov. 16, that a USB key containing personal information, including Social Insurance Numbers, of almost 5,000 Canadians is missing.
The department is tasked with handling of numerous files regarding individuals’ pensions, old age security, employment insurance and childcare tax credits. A spokesperson of the department informed news sources via an email on Friday evening that all affected personals have been notified and guided to remain cautious after the incident, while educating them of measures they shall take to help protect their personal information. A spokesperson of the privacy commissioner, Anne-Marie Hayden, alleged that “It’s too early to say whether or not these will turn into official, full, investigations,” though she added that “we’d have to look at what we receive first and determine next steps from there.”
She mentioned that HRSDC has no evidence so far to indicate that the lost information was used for fraudulent purposes. She stated that “nonetheless, we have advised affected individuals to carefully review and verify bank information, credit card information and other financial transaction statements as a means of safeguarding their personal information as a precautionary measure.” She added that “we are currently analyzing this incident with the view of preventing a similar occurrence in the future.”
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