A hard drive from a computer that is used to scan incoming mail items has been stolen from the premises of the Amsterdam municipal tax service. Alderman Victor Everhardt (Finance) writes this in a letter to the city council (pdf). The hard disk contains scans of documents sent by some 30,000 taxpayers in the period from July 2020 to March 2021.
Among the documents are objections, returns and requests for remission. For example, contact details, copies of ID certificates and health insurance policy sheets may be included.
It is not clear how much and what information exactly has been stolen from the building on Herikerbergweg in Amsterdam-Zuidoost. That differs from case to case.
The hard disk is provided with authentication protection. The data cannot be read without circumventing that security. The Municipal Executive does treat the theft as a data breach, because of the risk that security will be circumvented and the data will be resold or used for fraud and (identity) fraud.
The municipality reported to the police on Wednesday, April 7, when it was noted that the disk had been stolen. A report has also been made to the Dutch Data Protection Authority. The police investigation into the theft is still ongoing.
No data or documents have been lost due to the theft of the hard drive. Previously sent mail items therefore do not have to be sent again.
Those affected will receive a letter with advice
“The Commission deeply regrets the incident and is doing everything it can to inform those involved as well as possible,” writes Everhardt. Taxpayers whose information is stored on the stolen disk will be notified by letter starting Monday. It states the incident and the possible risks they run.
Those involved can contact Belastingen Amsterdam to find out which documents are involved in their case. In this way, according to the Commission, they can gain a better picture of the risk of fraud or fraud that may arise in their case. Those involved are also asked to be alert to invoices, telephone calls, texts and e-mails from both known and unknown senders. The municipality advises to contact us in case of doubt to check whether the correspondence actually originates from the municipality.