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IDENTITY THEFT
Regina, Saskatchewan
IDENTITY THEFT

REGINA, Saskatchewan (CBS.MW)
The Toronto Star quoted a sergeant from the Regina Police Service, who said the drive's disappearance could be the largest such crime ever in Canada.

Co-operators General Insurance Co. sent letters to all its pension and life insurance clients this week, warning that IBM Information Systems Management lost the personal computer hard drive housing customer account records. The Regina-based subsidiary of (IBM: news, chart, profile) is under contract with Co-operators to provide computer services.

The insurer said the missing hard drive contains client names, addresses, bank account details, beneficiaries, social insurance numbers, pension fund values, pre-authorized checking information, and mothers' maiden names.

"The Co-operators organization takes this very seriously," said Dominique O'Rourke, company spokeswoman, in a conference call. "We are all working very closely with police and other stakeholders to minimize potential risk."

The drive's disappearance is being treated as a theft, said Anne Mowat, IBM Canada spokeswoman. She said that IBM Canada is cooperating with an ongoing police investigation.

Mowat said that Co-operators still has access to insurance customers' records, since the 315-person facility regularly backed up data. The missing hard drive has records for Co-operators' pension and life insurance customers only -- not its automobile, home, farm and commercial insurance clients. She added that the drive contained client information from several other government and private-sector organizations.

The insurer said that the hard drive, located within a secure area of the IBM subsidiary's facility, was the only hardware that was reported missing.

"At this point, we don't know what happened," O'Rourke said. "But I can assure you that we will get to the bottom of what happened and why it happened. We will protect our client data."

So far, O'Rourke said, no one has used the insured's personal information fraudulently. But she urged customers to watch their financial statements for unauthorized activity, and to contact credit agencies Equifax and TransUnion to make sure their credit reports are being watched closely. O'Rourke also said that Co-operators is reviewing its own security procedures, and reassessing its relationship with the IBM subsidiary.

IBM stock fell $2.02, or more than 2 percent, to close at $78.30, as 7.29 million shares changed hands on the New York Stock Exchange.


 

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