Hundreds of people's private information accidentally sold to the public


by KRIS BETTS / KVUE News and photojournalist DATHAN HULL

Bio | Email | Follow: @KrisB_KVUE

Posted on February 6, 2014 at 11:22 PM

Updated Thursday, Feb 6 at 11:40 PM

ROUND ROCK -- Hundreds of people's private information, including social security and Medicaid numbers, accidentally ended up for sale to the public.

Three weeks ago, employees with the Round Rock business Integrity Constructive Solutions bought several filing cabinets from the State of Texas Surplus Store in Southeast Austin.

“They sell them cheap, so it’s a great place to buy used office equipment,” said David Reynolds, an estimator with the Round Rock construction business.

What he didn’t bargain for, however, was what he found inside the cabinets when he opened one this week.

“It was locked so we had to drill the lock open. Once we opened it, to our surprise, it was files inside in the top drawer," Reynolds said.

When he pulled the papers out he discovered another surprise, this one much more sensitive.

“The first thing I saw was a social security number, and I’m like, ‘Wow,’ and then there was names, there was Medicaid numbers and one in particular had a birth certificate stapled to the back,” said Reynolds.

The documents are not old. Reynolds said they dated from 2010 to 2012.

“This is not the kind of information that should be left in a filing cabinet, so it was kind of shocking,” Reynolds told KVUE.

He immediately called a friend who works for the state, who forwarded the information to the Office of the Inspector General.

“Today, the gentleman from the inspector general's office came by and picked them up and took care of them, so they’re in the proper hands now,” said Reynolds.

Reynolds says he’s at least glad he bought the cabinet.

“Luckily, they fell into an honest person’s hands, because there were at least 200 to 250 individual files of individual people that had their information out there for the taking," Reynolds said.

State officials tell KVUE that the Office of the Inspector General is now trying to figure out how those documents ended up at the surplus store so it doesn’t happen again.

They are also working with a privacy officer to go through all of the documents and determine whether they need to notify anyone that their private information may have been compromised.


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