Printing Company Mishap Increases Identity Theft Risk

How an Honest Mistake Can Lead to Identity Theft

There have been recent events in the news about the possibility of identity theft for specific groups of individuals. One situation occurred fairly recently and has increased the risk of identity theft for the individuals affected by the mishap. It's a prime example of how simple mistakes can lead to identity theft risks.

A Not-So-Small Mistake

An Illinois printing company inadvertently mailed the social security numbers of over 1,000 former school employees to current employees of the Chicago Public Schools. The information was included in a packet of health insurance information that employees received. The printing company mistakenly thought that they were sending out a list of healthcare providers to former employees when, in fact, they ended up sending a spreadsheet information that contained employees personal information including social security numbers. Any individual whose social security number and personal information was contained in the mailing is at an increased risk of identity theft.

Identity theft is a possible direct consequence of this mistake. If the information is delivered to the wrong address, someone could use the information to commit identity theft. Former coworkers who received the information could also use or sell the information for their own personal gain. Even if the former employees trusted their coworkers, the possibility of identity theft still exists. Someone who received the packet of material might not shred the information before disposing of it, and it could fall into the wrong hands.

Hoping For The Best

The school system has attempted to remedy the situation by requesting that individuals who have not already shredded the information send the papers back in a postage-paid envelope. The risk of identity theft still remains, and individuals affected by a similar situation would be well advised to keep a close eye on their credit report over the upcoming year or so.

Credit reports can be obtained by the three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. It would be well advised for individuals who experience such a breach of confidentiality to check with all three companies in order to closely monitor and reduce their risk of identity theft.

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