Important Documents Left In Dumpster
POSTED: Friday, May 27, 2011 - 4:28pm
UPDATED: Saturday, May 28, 2011 - 1:14am
EL PASO - If you found out your personal information, like a bank account number or a social security number, had been dumped in a trash can for anyone to get ahold of, you'd be pretty upset. But that's exactly what NewsChannel 9 found in a dumpster on the west side.
We got a call from a viewer last night who said he witnessed it all go down. Thousands of documents containing personal information were out in the open for just anyone to grab. They're in safe hands now, but, we still have plenty of questions. That's because they weren't just any documents. They were checkbooks, federal income tax forms, W2's, 1040's, etc. - more than what you would need to steal someone's identity. They were out in the open, unsealed, and not shredded.
It's not just concerning, or appalling - it's illegal. The Identity Theft Enforcement and Protection Act requires businesses in the state of Texas to safeguard this kind of information and notify the individuals if their information could be vulnerable.
So our news director, Hollis Grizzard and assistant news director David Randall, grabbed the documents and put them in a safe, locked room at our news station.
The trunk full of documents stuffed two large tubs and two boxes. And the more our management team sifted through the documents, the more it appeared it was a case of improper disposal. We found patient diagnosis forms, applications, resumes, social security information, checks, tax information, etc. We found documents dated from 2003 to 2007.
But it looks like the documents are from one office here in El Paso. So we called the person the documents belong to, to let them know their information was found in plain sight. They quickly came to pick them up, but asked that we not film them doing so. They, like us, had many questions. Who had dumped all their information? Why? And, perhaps most importantly, why wasn't it shredded?
We also notified the Attorney General's office in Austin to see if they want to investigate any potential wrongdoing.
We'll keep digging and let you know what we find.