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[Dataloss] Fwd: [ISN] Personal data on hundreds of Americans faxed to Manitoba company
From: blitz (blitzstrikenet.kicks-ass.net)
Date: Mon Feb 06 2006 - 12:15:33 CST
>Lockport, Manitoba - Confidential information on hundreds of United
>States citizens, including social security numbers, health information
>and bank account numbers, is being sent mistakenly by fax to a small
>A 60-centimetre-high stack of data, which also includes people's
>addresses and salaries, already sits in the offices of North Regent
>Rx, a herbal remedy distribution company that operates out of a house
>in Lockport, 15 kilometres north of Winnipeg.
>"I know how much these people make, I know what their social security
>number is, I know where they live," North Regent Rx spokesman Jody
>Baxmeyer told The Canadian Press.
>"Almost everything a person needs for identity theft is actually faxed
>to us on a daily basis."
>Far from using the information for any illicit purposes, Ms. Baxmeyer
>says his company has been trying to stop the faxes from coming in, but
>has been unable to reach an agreement with Prudential Financial, the
>U.S.-based company that is the intended recipient.
>The problem started as soon as North Regent Rx began operating 15
>months ago. The company's toll-free fax number is almost identical to
>the number used by Prudential's insurance division, which receives
>faxes from doctors' offices about medical benefits given to patients
>with Prudential insurance.
>Employees at many doctors' offices have dialled the wrong number,
>sending the information to North Regent Rx.
>The pile in Ms. Baxmeyer's office reveals data about people in many
>states - a Maryland woman with thyroid trouble, a Massachusetts man
>suffering from depression, and Kelly McDonough, 43, an Ohio woman who
>has lost her sight because of diabetes.
>"That bothers me," McDonough said from her home in Columbus.
>"I do not appreciate the fact that my social security number is in the
>hands of someone I don't know. I know that there can be identity theft
>with as little information as a social security number."
>McDonough said the mixup has affected her financially, because she
>initially didn't get reimbursed for the claim that was mistakenly
>faxed to North Regent Rx. After waiting for a few weeks, she assumed
>Prudential might have lost the information and had her doctor's office
>resend the fax, which reached the right destination on the second try.
>Prudential says it's trying to address the situation.
>"As soon as we learned that disability forms were being misdirected
>due to dialer error, Prudential Financial offered to work with North
>Regent Rx to resolve the matter," the company said in a written
>"We have asked the six medical providers that we are aware of that
>have misdialled to be more careful when dialing."
>Last August, Prudential vice-president Patrick O'Toole wrote to Ms.
>Baxmeyer to suggest that North Regent Rx send Prudential the faxes
>they have been receiving.
>Ms. Baxmeyer says North Regent has forwarded some faxes to Prudential,
>and has often faxed messages to the clinics to tell them they have
>But he said it's a time-consuming task for a small company. And the
>ongoing problem has tied up the fax line, he said, preventing North
>Regent customers from sending in their orders.
>"The (solution) from our point of view is pretty simple — buy our
>toll-free number," Ms. Baxmeyer said.
>"It would take care of the problem right there."
>Ms. Baxmeyer said North Regent Rx has approached Prudential about
>selling the fax number, but the insurance firm has not yet agreed.
>North Regent Rx would want to be compensated for the cost of changing
>its toll-free number on advertising and invoices, as well as for fees
>charged by the telephone company, he said.
>Prudential's written statement says the company is "eager to continue
>to work with North Regent Rx to resolve the issue."
>This is not the first time personal data has been sent over the
>Canada-U.S. border to the wrong recipient.
>In November of 2004, The Globe and Mail and CTV reported that between
>2001 and 2004, confidential information about hundreds of Canadian
>Imperial Bank of Commerce customers was faxed to a scrapyard in West
>The scrapyard's owner, Wade Peer, said the volume of faxes prevented
>him from communicating with his customers and forced him to close one
>of his businesses.
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