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Theft threatens privacy of 120,000

Revenue minister orders probe after computers stolen from tax office

By Robert Fife

Revenue Minister Elinor Caplan has ordered a sweeping security review after four tax department computers containing confidential personal information on more than 120,000 Canadians were stolen, CanWest News has learned.

Government insiders say the Sept. 4 theft at Revenue Canada’s offices in Laval, Que. is the “biggest loss” of personal information in Canadian history and included the social insurance numbers of contractors and sub-contractors in the construction industry across the country.

While no personal income tax information was on the computers, officials say police fear the stolen data can be used to build new identities for criminals and bogus refugees or people trying to fraudulently obtain credit cards, employment insurance, welfare or old age pensions.

The stolen information included personal data such as names, dates of birth, home addresses and social insurance numbers that could be sold on the black market to organized crime syndicates.

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