For Sale at Goodwill: Other People's Identities?
Indiana TV station finds that personal info often gets donated by accident, resold
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Nov 6, 2013 12:14 PM CST
A Goodwill store in Moline, Ill.   (AP Photo/The Dispatch, Paul Colletti)

(Newser) – An Indiana TV station has a story about Goodwill that should make donors—and identity thieves—pay attention. It seems that lots of people accidentally donate boxes stuffed with sensitive personal information (think Social Security numbers, pay stubs, credit cards, tax returns, etc), and those boxes then get resold to total strangers picking through bargain bins, reports WTHR. Acting on a tip, station employees went around to Goodwill stores in Indianapolis and bought scads of such information.

"This is bad, really bad," says a local cop who specializes in identity theft. "You have every single document you would need in here to go and portray yourself as these people. ... It's just shocking the amount of Social Security numbers and tax records you found." So why isn't Goodwill vetting these boxes? Well, it's supposed to, and the organization has hired a law firm to review its procedures and try to fix the problem. Of course, it would also help if donors were a wee bit more careful themselves. Click for the full story.

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Showing 3 of 19 comments
iq145
Nov 6, 2013 11:29 PM CST
YUCK! That means these stores don't launder those clothing items either!!! They say they do...
Ezekiel 25:17
Nov 6, 2013 8:29 PM CST
We sold grandma's house and then mom's house so she could move to a condo. I took the largest truck you can rent to Goodwill and the guys who helped unload it all had ankle beepers. As I unloaded items, they kept saying to each other, "my son is going to love that" or "My wife will just love this." I let it go. I know grandma would smile at someone else liking her stuff.
winterfairy
Nov 6, 2013 6:39 PM CST
Pretty amazing people do that. I shred everything with my name on it. My City even has a free "shred it" day a couple times of year. You bring all your papers to a parking lot and they are shredded right there under the eye of the cops. (not that the cops mean anything but its better than them not being there.) I would recommend spending a little more on a shredder and get one that can shred credit cards and several papers at once. It lasts longer and its easier to use.