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UVic strikes credit deal for staff

Feb 08 2012

The University of Victoria has reached a deal with two companies to provide credit monitoring services free of charge to nearly 12,000 employees affected by a recent privacy breach.

The university notified employees Monday that they can enrol with either or both of TransUnion and Equifax credit bureaus for up to 12 months.

Credit monitoring services alert clients of any changes to their credit files, such as the issuing of new credit cards or other suspicious activity.

The service would cost about $15 a month if employees had to pay for it themselves. The university, however, has not disclosed how much it expects to spend providing the service to current and former employees affected by the breach.

A thief or thieves broke into the university's administrative services building on the weekend of Jan. 7-8 and stole items including a mobile storage device with extensive personal and banking information of employees. The information was not encrypted.

Saanich police later reported that most of the stolen items were left in a Canada Post mailbox in Langford Jan. 18. The key storage device, however, remains missing.

The university has urged employees to place a free flag or alert on their credit file with Equifax and TransUnion.

The Professional Employees Association, which represents more than 800 UVic workers, welcomed the university's efforts to protect its employees. The union, however, believes the credit monitoring service should be extended to reduce the potential risk.

"We had proposed to them, based on expert advice that we had received, that that should be for a two-year period," executive director Scott McCannell said Tuesday. "We're continuing our discussions."

lkines@timescolonist.com

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