More sensitive documents found in central Indiana dumpster
It was only a few weeks ago that 13 Investigates uncovered hundreds of personal records trashed in an open dumpster. Now, another tip has led to the discovery of more files containing private information like Social Security numbers for anyone to take.
The files were very easy for us to get to. Armed with a step ladder, we had access to the files in a matter of seconds - ankle-deep in dozens of personal files. We even found a computer tower.
We found one application with names, addresses, Social Security numbers, phone numbers, all types of personal information someone would give when applying for life insurance.
The business is GNP Consultants. They handle life insurance and tax preparation out of a Fishers office building. The owner is George Pappas and in an unexpected twist of events, Mr. Pappas happened to wheel another cartload of personal files out to the dumpster while we were there.
Mr. Pappas initially denied throwing away the files before owning up to it.
"They're old," he said.
Pappas soon ended the on-camera interview. But off-camera he told us he accidentally threw the files away not realizing the full extent of the sensitive information contained in them.
"Just because it's old doesn't mean it's not damaging. Your date of birth stays the same. Your Social Security number stays the same. Most of us don't move all that frequently," said Abby Kuzma, the Director of Consumer Protection with the Attorney General's Office.
Kuzma says not only are businesses violating state and federal law by dumping this type of information, but putting their clients in danger of identity theft.
"It's one of the major crimes we deal with and we have a whole identity theft unit because of the seriousness of the issue," said Abby.
Investigators from that unit arrived within minutes of our phone call. They'll sort through those files and determine the extent of the case they have against Mr. Pappas. Depending on the full nature of the documents, improper disposal of personal information could violate state and federal privacy laws and could be punishable by up to a $150,000 fine.