I-Team investigation: Personal information found in dumpster - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

I-Team investigation: Personal information found in dumpster

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TOLEDO, Ohio - Your 9 digit Social Security number can be worth its weight in gold, especially to identity thieves.  Now a shocking I-Team report about ID cards packed with personal information that were discovered in a dumpster right here in Toledo.

The 13abc I-Team is investigating how this happened. 

The cards are small about 2 inches by 3 inches but they are full of valuable information.  Someone could open credit cards, bank accounts, and run up big bills using a person’s stolen personal information.  It was all left in the last place you'd expect.

The I-Team was given about a thousand of them.  They appear to be check cashing cards loaded with personal and valuable data.  That information includes names, addresses, birth dates, phone numbers, social security numbers, even photos. 

All of this came from the Family Food Center at Detroit and Dorr streets in Central Toledo.  They were turned over to the I-Team by a concerned source.  So do the people on these cards have any idea that someone simply threw away their valuable information?  The I-Team decided to knock on some doors and ask them.

The I-Team stopped at the home of Dwight Woodard.  We took an ID card with his information on it as asked him if he had any idea how we had his information. He said he did not.  He was very surprised when we read him his social security number. 

The I-Team did not always find the person on the card, but in one case we actually found Chris Williams.  The ID card had all the information on his father.  Williams’ father has actually been in a nursing home for the last decade, with no clue his valuable information sat in a dumpster. 

"That would be exposing him to a lot of crime I guess, nowadays," said Williams.    

That’s when the I-Team took the information to the Better Business Bureau

“Are you serious?  Holy cow," was the reaction from the BBB’s Dick Eppstein.  "A lot of times all you need is a name, address, and social security number.  These people's identities could all be compromised by this stuff." 

"It's their records they can throw it away if they want to but from a responsible, from an ethical standpoint if I'm the owner of this business I'm not going to let this stuff go in the trash," said Eppstein. 

What about the owners of this place?  The I-Team went looking for some answers like, why were these thrown away and who did it?  We were met by a man name Clint who identified himself as a manager.  We asked Clint if he knew how they ended up in the dumpster.

"No, what are these," Clint told the I-Team. 

Clint says he'd never seen the cards, didn't know what they were and had no idea how they ended up in the Family Food Center dumpster.

“I don't know I'm not in charge of the garbage can.  This doesn't look familiar to me.  I don't know what this is," said Clint.

Clint says the Family Food Center is under new management.  The person who gave us the IDs said they were spotted in mid-February.  Clint says his group was in the store at that time.  The I-Team asked Clint if he’d want to say anything to the people who had these IDs thrown in the dumpster. 

“They should go look at who threw them in the dumpster," said Clint. 

The I-Team asked him if anyone at the store threw them in the dumpster.

“Not that I know of.  I'm not in control of the garbage cans," said Clint. 

“Even small businesses are sensitive to protecting the information on their customers.  I would guess less of it goes on than you might think and that this is kind of an aberration," said Eppstein.

“That is me.  This is kind of weird that they threw this away," said Woodard after the I-Team showed us him the ID found with his name on it.

Weird and scary to the many who could have had their identities stolen.  Even if you've never shopped at the Family Food Market, it's a good idea to check your credit report at least once a year to make sure no one has your information and opened a credit card or account in your name without your knowledge.