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OPC complaint prompts telecom’s fraud investigation

PIPEDA findings #2015-019

July 22, 2015

Description

A fraudulent telecommunications account caused a false debt statement to appear on a credit report of the complainant. The telecommunications company failed to correct the false debt or to provide evidence the account was in fact created by the complainant. Our Office contacted the company, whose fraud team reviewed the file and determined that the disputed account was fraudulent.

Takeaways

  • Organizations are responsible for personal information in their possession or custody, including information that has been transferred to a third party for processing.
  • Personal information must be sufficiently accurate, complete and up-to-date to minimize the possibility that inappropriate information may be used to make a decision about the individual.
  • Customer authentication and verification procedures need to be strong enough to prevent the misuse of personal information and avoid inaccuracy.

Case Summary

Complaints were lodged with our Office against both a telecommunications company and a credit-reporting agency for failing to correct information on the complainant’s credit report. The information originated from a debt appearing on the complainant’s telecommunications account. However, the complainant claimed that he had never lived at the address associated with the debt. The credit-reporting agency told him that it had validated the debt with the telecommunications company. However, the telecommunications company refused to correct the debt or provide any proof that the complainant had ever opened the account.

Upon receiving the complaint, our Office reached out to the telecommunications company whose fraud team then reviewed the file and determined that the disputed account was fraudulent. The company cancelled the fraudulent account and provided the credit-reporting agency with an update containing the complainant’s accurate information.

Update

Our Office informed the complainant of the actions taken by the other two parties. The complainant was satisfied and our Office considered the matter resolved through early resolution.

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