OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 01/25/13 -- The Department of Human Resources and Skills Development (HRSDC) is responding to the concerns of Canadians and providing credit protection at no cost to Canada Student Loans Program (CSLP) clients whose personal information was contained in a missing hard drive.
In addition to the strong measures that the Minister recently directed the Department to implement, the Department has contracted with Equifax, a credit bureau, to provide the affected clients with credit and identity protection services for a period of up to six years.
"While there is no evidence that information has been fraudulently accessed or used, I want to reassure Canadians that we are serious about protecting their personal information," said Minister Finley. "That is why we will provide potentially affected individuals with credit protection at no cost, which will flag their credit files and help detect any potential compromise of their personal information."
While HRSDC has no evidence that any of the information has been accessed or used for fraudulent purposes, those clients who could potentially have been affected by this incident have the choice to request the credit protection services, and can contact the HRSDC call centre at 1-866-885-1866 within North America. For calls from outside of North America, affected citizens can call 1-416-572-1113 and dial 0 to speak to an operator in order to reverse the charges. Callers with a hearing or speech impairment and who use a teletypewriter (TTY) can call at 1-800-263-5883.
To protect privacy, the Department is asking that affected individuals call to provide their consent for their information to be shared with Equifax. The process will be simple and efficient.
A hard drive containing personal information on approximately 583,000 individuals who were Canada Student Loans clients from 2000-2006 has been deemed missing from an HSRDC office in Gatineau, Quebec, although the search is ongoing.
Credit protection services will be arranged once clients make contact with the HRSDC call centre.
HRSDC continues to take all efforts to reassure Canadians that rigorous new protocols are in place to protect their data.
This news release is available in alternative formats on request.
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Services to be provided to affected Canadians by Equifax Canada
Equifax is a respected, global leader in credit management, and has the tools to help protect Canadians' credit files and help detect any potential compromise of their personal information. This company will be offering credit and identity protection services to potentially affected clients for a period of up to six years.
-- Equifax Canada will protect credit files with notations that information may have been exposed and alert messages will be placed on credit files. This notation will assist in preventing any misuse of personal information. The notation will stay on credit files for a period of six years unless clients choose to have it removed. This flag will alert credit grantors that data may have been compromised, and lenders will then take further steps to verify the person's identity before granting credit.