Bell Canada Finds Stolen Data on 3.4M Customers

Suspect is arrested, but no one is sure how he got the data, telecom provider says

Bell Canada has recovered personal data on some 3.4 million customers that was stolen last month, but the thief's methods are still a mystery, the company said yesterday.

In a press release, Canada's largest telecom provider reported that it had worked with Montreal police to recover the data, which contained names, addresses, telephone numbers, and lists of Bell services for customers in Quebec and Ontario.

The data was found after a search of two locations in Montreal, and a suspect has been arrested. No credit card or account information was included, but about 5 percent of the phone numbers recovered were unlisted, Bell Canada said.

A spokesman for Bell Canada said that police were able to track down the data and the suspect because of a tip from a witness, who reported that the suspect was attempting to shop the data around to a number of people.

So far, however, no one is sure how the suspect got the data. Neither the press release nor the spokesman revealed how the data was found or the medium in which it was stored. The suspect has never been a Bell Canada employee, the spokesman said. The investigation is ongoing.

Criminal charges are pending against the suspect, and Bell Canada said it is also reviewing its civil litigation options.

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