On March 12, residents of an Odessa, TX, apartment complex witnessed their worst fear: having their most private information exposed. Management of the apartment complex put their tenants at risk of identity theft by not taking secure measures to properly dispose of confidential documents. NewsWest 9 reported the following story:
A disturbing find in a dumpster at an Odessa apartment complex: A plastic bag filled with unshredded documents that had personal information, including social security numbers. Now the person that found it is worried hundreds of identities could have potentially been stolen.
On Tuesday morning, a resident of the Palms Apartments in Odessa made a disturbing discovery.
“I went in the morning to go throw the trash, and when I did, I noticed a bag full of them envelopes with a bunch of, what looked like, paperwork. When I pulled it out, sure enough, it’s old tenants information, social security, birthdays. Stuff that wasn’t supposed to be thrown out like that,” the resident said.
The Odessa man, who didn’t want to be identified, immediately notified the apartment association of his finding. Scared that his and his mother’s identity could be among hundreds in the bag filled with social security cards, ID’s, money orders, eviction notices, even maintenance requests.
“That’s not something you should be throwing out in the dumpsters for everyone to see. Especially around here where there’s a lot of people who collect cans and that’s part of their little thing that they do is go into the dumpsters and look for stuff,” the resident said.
NewsWest 9 remained with the resident until police arrived to pick up the bag. Once officers arrived, apartment management kicked us off the property. To find out if it was the apartment complex who threw these documents away, NewsWest 9 called the office and left voicemails, but have not yet heard back. The Odessa resident is simply frustrated that these documents were thrown away completely intact.
“They should have shredded them. That’s obvious. That’s what anybody should do with their personal information they’re gonna throw out,” the resident said.
Leaving these types of documents exposed means hundreds of identities could potentially be stolen. In fact, police say identity theft is on the rise in Odessa.
“If anybody’s found being in possession of somebody else’s identification, there can be a violation and they can be charged,” Steve LeSueur, Public Information Officer for the Odessa Police Department, said.
Identity Theft on the Rise
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