I was reading My Money Journey's blog a little while ago and she was talking about the fact that she was one of almost 600,000 Canadians affected by the HRDC security breach back in January. I have to admit I had thought briefly about this, but couldn't remember whether or not I had a student loan at the time.
Well, of course I did! I was doing my carpentry training at the time and it turns out that I, too, am affected by this. I decided to call, and I spoke with a very nice lady who confirmed that I was affected, what information is "out there," and what they're doing to protect everyone. The Federal Government has arranged a 6-year contract with Equifax to protect those whose information could be at risk. The RCMP has already been given my SIN number for monitoring, but I gladly accepted the extra security. I'm not planning on any loans over the next 6 years, but who knows what will happen even 6 days from now? To prove myself at any time over the next 6 years, I'll need government issued ID (passport, driver's license, etc.) which I'm happy to comply with for my own security. Why would you NOT want to prove who you are after a massive, potential security breach like this? Sure, it could be a hassle, but if it gets too problematic, I probably don't need the loan in the first place, right?
I was assured it won't affect my credit rating and can be removed at any time, but like I say, I'm happy to comply. She mentioned that in the letters I'll be getting, there are various phone numbers, including one to call if I want a lawsuit! I'm not at all interested in following anything like that up. What purpose would that serve? It could go on for years and years and how would a monetary payout help anyway?
Let this be a reminder to us all to be more cautious about our generally lackadaisical use of personal information - particularly online - as well as that we're all human and mistakes happen.