Identities of Nurses Threatened

August 08 , 2009 in Industry News

It all started when the employees at India Tree Gourmet Spices in Seattle discovered that someone had been using the company’s garbage cans for illegal dumps.

On at least three Monday mornings, dozens of boxes were found in the business’s unlocked waste receptacles.

In those boxes, workers found medical records, social security numbers, driver’s licenses, financial records, legal documents, bank records and W2s.

Dillon’s primary concern; if someone wanted to steal the identities of the people in the files, everything they’d need is right there. “I think they’d like to know what was going on with their personal information.”

KIRO 7 Consumer Investigators wanted to know who might have left the boxes in the dumpsters, so they set up surveillance cameras that show no other dumps were apparently made after the initial three.

The files appear to belong to a Staffing Solutions company whose logo appears throughout every box. The company, which placed travelling nurses in jobs, has apparently been closed for years.

Meanwhile, India Tree was worried about keeping all the personal information contained in the abandoned boxes, safe. Dillon tells Clancy, “We’re obviously concerned and alarmed.”

So were some of the nurses whose records were left for the taking. When contacted by KIRO 7, Shelly of Montana says she now feels “vulnerable.” Kimberly of Mississippi is “extremely upset” because she had assumed her “records would be safe.” Susan of Iowa is “angry.” All confirm they once worked for the Staffing Solutions Company.

After India Tree found the documents and contacted KIRO 7, Consumer Investigators called Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna. He visited the company and said the pile of abandoned boxes was the biggest illegal dumping of personal information he’d ever seen. “The biggest problem is thousands and thousands of individuals who’s personally identifying information has been compromised,” he told Clancy while visiting India Tree. “This is exactly the kind of practice of dumping boxes of records in a dumpster that state law is designed to prevent. And this is the kind of action that could bring penalties on the company that dumped the records.”

India Tree wanted to do the right thing and have the documents destroyed, which can cost hundreds of dollars for a job that size. So a Mobile Shredding company, when contacted by KIRO 7, stepped in to help free of charge.