Privacy commissioner to investigate Capital One data breach amid calls from Windsor MP
A massive data breach gathering personal information from 106 million Capital One credit card holders and applicants has the Windsor West Member of Parliament looking for an independent investigation, and he’s getting it.
The breach could affect as many as six million Canadians and New Democrat MP Brian Masse called on Canada’s privacy commissioner Wednesday to carry out an independent investigation, rather than relying on Capital One’s public disclosures.
“A thorough independent investigation, rather than a reliance on Capital One’s public disclosures, would get all the facts and determine appropriate penalties, monitoring and oversight. Furthermore, this inquiry is an opportunity to develop policy solutions both for corporations and regulators,” Masse wrote in a letter to Canada’s privacy commissioner, Daniel Therrien.
“The need for a comprehensive review and necessary reforms is needed now more than ever with these data breaches becoming almost a routine occurrence putting Canadians’ financial and personal lives at risk,” wrote Masse.
The breach is among the largest of a major U.S. financial institution on record. The bank said the bulk of the hacked data consisted of information supplied by consumers and small businesses who applied for credit cards between 2005 and early 2019. Consumers concerned that their information may have been hacked are advised to take steps such as obtaining a free copy of their credit report or freezing their credit.
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada announced Wednesday that it has indeed opened its own investigation into the matter after being in touch with the company.
As the investigation unfolds, Canadians should not give out any sensitive information over the phone to anyone who claims they’re calling from Capital One. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner said it was alerted that the company will not be calling customers over the phone regarding the incident.
“Should individuals receive calls claiming to be from Capital One regarding this incident, they should not provide any information and instead should call the number listed on the back of their credit card,” the office said.
Anyone who notices suspicious activity on their Capital One account is advised to report it to police, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and inform Service Canada. Customers may also sign up for monitoring services from Equifax and TransUnion, which Capital One says it will provide for free to everyone affected.
No credit card numbers were compromised in the breach, the company said. Still, customers could consider asking for a new card and number, or close their account.
Phone numbers, email addresses, dates of birth, credit scores and self-reported income were among the information that the hacker was able to access.
-With files from The Associated Press and CTVNews.ca