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

(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.

A Goodwill store in Moline, Ill.
A Goodwill store in Moline, Ill.   (AP Photo/The Dispatch, Paul Colletti)
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