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Government error upsets local woman

A Kelowna woman is furious with the federal government.

She, along with nearly 600,000 other Canadians are sitting on pins and needles after a portable hard drive with personal information went missing from the Human Resources and Skills Development office in Gatineau, Quebec.

I'm quite angry because, if anything, the Canadian government should be protecting us from identity theft - from everything," says Christine Dib.

"They are the ones that made the mistake so, I'm quite angry, quite disappointed. They dropped the ball."

The hard drive with information such as people's names, Social Insurance numbers, date of birth and contact information went missing in early November.

The government released details in January.

People affected had taken out student loans between 2000 and 2006.

The government sent letters to all those affected.

Dib received the letter earlier this week.

"At first I thought it was fake so I actually didn't call the number in the letter I called Service Canada instead and they told me it was real and I should contact the number in the letter," says Dib.

"When I phoned them they told me I had to sign up for an Equifax credit report that was free of charge because of the incident. They told me to contact my bank to get additional protection on all my bank accounts and credit cards."

Dib says she was also told to keep a close eye on all her bank statements and any other financial transactions she may make.

"If I do notice any fraudulent activity on anything I should contact the police."

The letter stated that;

'While there is no evidence at this time that the information has been accessed or used for fraudulent purposes, specific measures have been undertaken to safeguard the protection of your personal information.

We will monitor you SIN record at the Social Insurance Registry to ensure that no changes are made without your authorization.

Additionally, Dib says if she felt someone was using her SIN number, the government would take the unusual step of issuing another one.

Despite all the assurances and safeguards, Dib says she still feels unnerved.

"Of any kind of company you would expect this from you wouldn't expect a mistake like this from the government," adds Dib.

"You hear about identity theft but at the same time you usually feel protected under our government. You don't expect the government to be the one to mess up."

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