Privacy commissioner launches probe of Equifax data breach
Canada’s privacy watchdog said Friday it has opened an investigation into the massive Equifax Inc. data breach after receiving several complaints and dozens of calls from concerned Canadians.
“The investigation is a priority for our office given the sensitivity of the personal information that Equifax holds,” the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada said in an announce- ment on its website.
It added that the credit monitoring company will notify all impacted Canadians in writing as soon as possible. Equifax is used by many creditors to get reports on consumers’ credit histories, which include information such as social insurance numbers, credit card numbers and home addresses.
Equifax said on Sept.7 that it was the victim of a massive cyberattack that may have compromised the personal data of as many as 143 million Americans and a limited number of Canadian and U.K. residents.
Canada’s privacy watch- dog first said on Tuesday that it was “prioritizing” an examination into Equifax’s hack and would work with data protection authorities in Canada after news of the leak was made public, months after it first learned about the breach.
The watchdog said Tuesday it asked the credit monitoring company to tell Canadians as soon as possible if their information was stolen and to adopt measures to help them.
However, in its update Friday it said that Equifax would not be calling individual consumers and warned about potential scam phone calls from those trying to take advantage of the breach.
It advised Canadians to hang up if anyone calls them claiming to be affiliated with Equifax — regardless of what the caller ID says.
On Friday, the company said fewer than 400,000 British consumer had some of their personal information compromised, but it was more limited in scope and unlikely to lead to identity theft.
Equifax has yet to specify how many individuals in Canada were impacted. Equifax has not responded to multiple requests for comment.
The credit monitoring company’s call centre staff have told callers that only Canadians that have credit files in the U.S. were likely to be impacted.
Meanwhile, Equifax said Friday that two of its senior executives are leaving in the wake of the data loss.