Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

No evidence personal information used for fraud, department says

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OTTAWA -- A federal government department says there is no evidence missing personal information about thousands of Canadians has been used for fraudulent purposes.

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada says an employee reported on Nov. 16 a USB key containing personal information, including social insurance numbers, of about 5,000 Canadians was missing.

The department, which handles a variety of files including pensions, old age security, employment insurance and childcare tax credits, says all those affected have been contacted.

A spokesman said in an email Friday evening the affected people have been advised of the incident and informed of the steps they can take to help protect their personal information.

HRSDC notified the privacy commissioner's office on Dec. 21 the data had been lost.

About 60 people have already called an information line at the privacy commissioner's office expressing concern about the incident and complaints have already been filed.

"It's too early to say whether or not these will turn into official, full, investigations," said Anne-Marie Hayden, a spokeswoman for the privacy commissioner.

"We'd have to look at what we receive first and determine next steps from there."

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 29, 2012 A23

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