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Hundreds of Personal Documents Discovered in Dumpster

Yet another case of sensitive documents discovered in a dumpster. The discovery occurred outside of a Sylvan Learning Center in Beaverton, Oregon. Hundreds of documents containing names, dates of birth, social security numbers, and even credit card numbers were found in the dumpster, exactly the kind of stuff that an ID thief would be looking for. After all the press and coverage identity theft has been getting over the passed year, it is amazing that this kind of thing still occurs on a regular basis. It highlights the extreme importance of having written policies and procedures regarding information handling and proper employee training programs to prevent this type of incident from occurring.

Unsecured Documents Found in Dumpster

BEAVERTON, OR (KPTV) – Social Security numbers, with dates of birth and even copies of credit cards, were all found in a Beaverton dumpster. Police say that information and more was simply tossed into a dumpster by employees of the Sylvan Learning Center and that throwing it away was the standard method of disposal.

FOX 12 has learned it was an employee who works at a nearby business who found the files in the dumpster complete with all kinds of personal information, so that person called police. But, the owner of the Sylvan Learning Center says his business would never throw away sensitive information. “We are very protective of our clients and their information,” said Tom VanHouten. VanHouten argues the center doesn’t even take the kind of information from clients that police say they found in the dumpster. “Credit and Social Security numbers and anything sensitive used for identity theft, we don’t have access to at all.” VanHouten claims that the massive number of files his employees piled into the dumpster behind the center on Southwest Second Street only included client names and addresses, student learning charts and report cards.

He says they throw away material like this all the time before the start of a new school year, but sometimes they shred the documents if they have time. VanHouten said he wasn’t in town when the incident happened, so when employees asked him what to do, he told them just to throw the files away. But police say after searching through the files, they clearly found client dates of birth, Social Security numbers and in some cases copies of credit cards. “This would be a treasure trove to an identity thief suspect for sure,” said Sgt. Jim Shumway with the Beaverton Police Department. “I don’t know if he is ignorant about the info contained in docs from own business, or if he’s being dishonest, either way it’s going to be very easy to show that those documents do have that information on them,” said Shumway. VanHouten says if there was sensitive information found in the dumpster, it wasn’t from his business. “If they’re in there and they could be, it’s not from our files. It’s from other files outside of Sylvan mixed in with it,” said VanHouten.

The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services is now taking over the investigation.

The DCBS can issue fines if they find violations of the Oregon Identity Theft Protection Act, which requires businesses, government agencies and other organizations to ensure the security of personal identifying information.Investigators with DCBS say they can issue up to a $1,000 fine per violation.Beaverton police are encouraging people who have ever submitted personal information to this business to check their accounts and credit ratings now and again in the future to ensure they have not been the victim of identity theft. Copyright 2013 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.


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