Charred tax documents found behind Anderson business

Several pieces of burned tax documents were found behind an Anderson business.
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David MacAnally/Eyewitness News

Anderson - Some taxpayers may get burned up over what was found burned behind an Anderson business.

Eyewitness News found multiple tax returns partially incinerated and scattered around an alley off West 38th Street and Madison. The charred returns were just outside the back door of Instant Tax Service, a tax preparation business.

Neighbors pointed out the ashes left at the spot where someone burned the old tax forms in a metal trash can for several days.

"There was two piles outside that door of burned-up documents," said witness Sherry Bevel.

Bevel says employees at her pizza shop discovered the dumped documents.

"I would be absolutely outraged," Bevel said. "They were burning all day and through the night and it went on for about a week."

Her workers were dumbfounded. Josh Wall even went out to clean some of it up.

"I wouldn't want my information laying out in some alley," Wall said.

The pieces of paper were charred, but names, dates of birth and social security numbers were still visible. That poses a risk of identity theft should that info fall into the wrong hands.

"No comment right now. Not right now," said Instant Tax Service company manager Wegahta Gagbremichael.

When asked if he was concerned about private data going public, Gagbremichael said no and that their trash can was also stolen.

"I made a police report about the stolen trash can and I have no comment," he said.

There is a federal law to protect against improper disposal of social security information, but critics say it's weak and doesn't deter improper disposal. Experts say shredding is the best option.