CRA privacy breach

Alanna Kelly

UPDATE: 1:15 p.m.

A representative from the Canada Revenue Agency has picked up a confidential package that was mistakenly placed inside someone’s information.

Susan Munroe received the package addressed to her on Thursday to her home in Kelowna. When she opened it, CRA information for a man living in Surrey was inside. This included his address, employer, social insurance number and his banking information.

Munroe tried to reach the CRA multiple times but could not get through. Once Castanet reached the CRA they said they would immediately retrieve the package

“We have made contact with the individual that you did the story on and we will be making arrangements for someone to pick up the package,” said a CRA spokesperson.

On Thursday afternoon Munroe confirmed someone did come to pick up the package.

ORIGINAL: 5 a.m.

A Kelowna woman is sounding the alarm after she was sent a stranger's confidential information by the Canada Revenue Agency.

Susan Monroe received the package at her home on Thursday addressed to her. Inside was a man’s social insurance number, his address, employer, bank information and salary.

The man’s address was for a residence in Surrey.

“I have everything I need to steal his identity,” she said. 

Monroe didn’t feel comfortable looking at the information and called the CRA number listed on the documents.

She called three times to warn them of their error, but no one answered.

“I feel very sorry for him,” she said. “And what am I supposed to do with it? How do I go about getting this to him? Do I phone him and let him know myself?”

“The CRA takes its responsibility to safeguard taxpayer information very seriously. Any incident of misdirected mail is thoroughly investigated,” CRA spokesperson Etienne Biram told Castanet, offering no explanation as to how the mistake happened. “The CRA continuously reviews quality assurance practices pertaining to our mailing processes to prevent such occurrences.”

Munroe says she plans on keeping the confidential information safe, but is now concerned about her own private information.

“How is it being safeguarded and protected, because I don’t think it is,” she said.

Biram says the CRA sends about 110 millions pieces of mail a year, and misdirected mail incidents occur in 0.003 per cent of all mail.

“In many cases of misdirected mail, a person’s privacy is not at risk,” he said. “This would include, for example, cases where a letter does not contain personal information but was sent to the wrong individual, or where the information was publicly available.”

According to Biram, the CRA retrieves virtually all misdirected mail.

Munroe said she contemplated reaching out to the individual to inform him, but didn’t feel comfortable with it.

“I now feel responsible for safeguarding his information to make sure it doesn’t fall into unscrupulous hands,” she said.

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