Apply for a new passport in recent years? We hope your application didn't reach the desk of a woman accused of stealing people's personal data from the State Department's passport office since 2010. Chloe McClendon, who worked as a contractor, was indicted this week in Houston, the Washington Post reports. The 26-year-old was charged along with two other women—Alicia Myles, 31, and Dominique Thomas, 25—on multiple counts, including aggravated identity theft, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, reports Click2Houston. Simply put, they're accused of stealing Social Security numbers, addresses, and names to make phony documents. Accomplices allegedly used those documents to open commercial credit accounts and buy electronics items like iPhones and iPads.
The Post reported last month that the US Passport Agency was already refusing to let contractors bring cellphones to the office, and planned to prevent government workers as well, because someone in Houston had been caught swiping applicants' personal data. But Rob Arnold, who heads a federal workers' union, questions the phone ban: "If the contractors had been caught writing down the applicants’ private information on a piece of paper, would they have banned paper and pens?" he asks. He also says the Passport Agency has reduced costs by replacing government workers with contractors and giving the latter greater responsibility.