05/16/2018 21:33 EDT | Updated 05/16/2018 21:33 EDT

CBC Employees Warned Personal Financial Info Could Have Been Stolen

A piece of computer equipment was recently stolen.

Nathan Denette/Canadian Press
The CBC building is shown in Toronto on April 4, 2012.

OTTAWA — Thousands of employees of Canada's public broadcaster are being warned their personal information may have been compromised after a recent computer theft, the CBC said Wednesday.

"The stolen equipment, while password protected, may contain electronic files, including some personal financial information" of people who recently worked for the CBC and Radio-Canada, the Crown corporation's chief financial officer said in an email.

Around 20,000 people could be affected, including current employees, outside contractors and some former employees who worked over the last 18 months, the broadcaster confirmed.

But a CBC spokesman would not say where or exactly when the theft took place, only that a piece of equipment was taken recently from "a secure area of a CBC/Radio-Canada space," and that police were investigating.

More information to come

"For security reasons we have been advised not to disclose further details of the theft at this time," said Douglas Chow, the CBC's senior manager of public relations.

Affected employees were told to expect more information soon detailing the financial information that may have been put at risk.

"You may have received or may soon receive a letter from our chief privacy officer," executive vice-president and CFO Judith Purves wrote to employees.

"The letter, sent to your home address, outlines what happened and the specific type of information (name, bank account and amounts deposited into your account by CBC/Radio-Canada) that may be involved in your case."

Doing everything 'to minimize any risk'

The broadcaster said it wasn't aware of any personal data being accessed.

Those who receive a letter are being offered one year of no-cost credit monitoring and identity theft insurance as a safeguard.

"We are doing everything we can to minimize any risk from this incident," Purves wrote.

"We are also reviewing all of our security procedures and will enhance them where appropriate."

Ottawa police said they would not comment on the investigation.

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