It was thrown away like trash, folders full of personal information. What do you think? Is your social security number, salary and employment information trash? One company now has some explaining to do after private files were found in a dumpster. "Copies of drivers license, copies of social security cards, banking information," explains Zachary Hailey as he lists all of the personal information on documents he says he found in a dumpster at the Wilcox Apartments on 610.
Hailey says the folders full of personal information were "filed" right there in the trash bin at the Wilcox Apartments. "Two boxes. I have 150 maybe 200 folders," adds Hailey. Hailey says the folders came to his attention as people gathered around the trash and were removing documents. He then took as many boxes as he could to secure them and he started calling the people listed on the paperwork.
"I'm not happy. I'm not happy," says Clarice Anthony in frustration. Anthony used to live in the complex back in 2010 when it was the Meadow Ridge Apartments. She was shocked to receive a phone call from a perfect stranger who had her very private information about her.
"I'm just like oh my gosh," says Anthony. She picked up the folder from Hailey and has filed complaints with the Better Business Bureau, Houston Apartment Association and she contacted the credit bureaus. Anthony is also trying to get answers from Trinity Property Consultants, the management company for Wilcox apartments. "I give my information to these people thinking it's in good hands and it's not," explains Anthony.
Hailey says when he went to the leasing office to find out why personal files were in the dumpster at Wilcox Apartments he says he was told the information belongs to former residents. He says management also told him they fixed the problem by doing this. "They went in there an poured oil on it," says Hailey.
My calls to Trinity Management weren't yet returned as of when the report was filed. Anthony says she's speaking out because she wants other former residents of Meadow Ridge or Wilcox Apartments to be on the lookout. "Your information may have been breached," warns Anthony.
So is a company obligated to properly dispose of your personal information? According to the Houston Apartment Association the answer is yes. State law requires businesses to destroy documents containing your private information. State law also says those who have had personal information disposed of improperly may be entitled to financial damages after filing a complaint with the attorney general's office.