Canada’s privacy watchdog launches investigation into the Equifax breach

Photo of Equifax's Canadian website

Canada’s privacy watchdog has officially launched its investigation into the Equifax breach that affected at least 143 million Americans, as well an unknown number of Canadians and Britons.

In a September 15th statement, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) said that Equifax — a U.S.-based consumer credit reporting agency with clients around the world — will notify all affected Canadians “as soon as possible.”

A previous CBC News report suggested that only Canadians with dealings in the U.S. were affected by the breach. However, the OPC has clarified that “at this point in time, it is not clear that the affected data was limited to Canadians with U.S. dealings.”

CBC News report from earlier today also suggested that at least 10,000 CAA customers were affected by the Equifax breach. CAA worked with Equifax on an identity protection program.

The OPC was unable to comment on precisely how many Canadians have been affected by the breach.

According to the OPC, Canadians who think they’re affected by the breach should not check their status using the American Equifax site, as that was specifically established “for use with U.S. social security numbers.”

Instead, Canadians should check the Canadian Equifax site, or contact Equifax directly.

“Equifax has said that it will not be calling affected customers,” reads an excerpt from the same media release.

The company will contact affected Canadians through the mail.

Equifax first announced the breach on September 7th, 2017, in a public statement. The company said that its American, Canadian and British customers had been affected by a “cybersecurity incident” that occurred between mid-May 2017 and July 2017.

“The investigation is a priority for our office given the sensitivity of the personal information that Equifax holds,” reads another excerpt from the same release.

Source: OPC

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Author: Sameer Chhabra