Wednesday, March 25, 2009

It's In The Can

American Scofflaw

A dumpster filled with forms that included personal information could have been a gold mine for any identity thief, but because of several alert workers at a nearby beauty shop, police were able to move in and take action.

Hair stylist Anita Rence expected to see trash in the dumpster behind the salon where she works, but she found much more than that. "And its everything from W-2's, W-4's, copies of driver's licenses, social security numbers...just everything...I mean, horrible."

A thief could use this personal information to steal someone's identity. "As a business owner, as a citizen, as a mother, as anybody...we're told all our lives shred, shred, shred...that should have been shredded...there's free shredding services, there's no excuse," says salon owner Dedra Derigo.

The documents came from a Westaff office on US 301 in the 6th Street Plaza, which is now apparently closed.

According to the company's website, the staffing company was just bought out last week, and the sign on the door reads, "We are not taking applications at this time."

The timing of the tossed documents galls the salon's owner. "And these are people who are using a temporary agency to get employment to tide them over through these rough times, and now they have to deal with this on top of everything else," says Derigo.

Fortunately, there is a happy ending. Salon workers called police, who arranged to have the dumpster secured and the documents destroyed.

Police say while the document dumping is wrong, it is not illegal. "There's nothing illegal about this, nothing illegal, but we're going to try to do what's the responsible thing to do and protect these citizens, even though they're not here," says Capt. Bill Spitler of the Sarasota Police Department.

Police are recommending people who filled out applications with Westaff over the last several years to have conduct a credit check.

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