MERRIAM, Kan. - A box full of personal employee records found in a public recycling dumpster in Merriam, Kan., has left hundreds of people at risk of identity theft.
A coupon collector who did not want to be identified said he was looking for a coupon for Miracle Whip when he found the private information.
"I noticed files in the dumpsters, and I took a look at the files, and I noticed social security numbers and driving records," the collector said. "If that were my information, I would expect that that would be shredded and disposed of properly, not thrown in a recycle dumpster or any other kind of dumpster."
The documents all had Washington Inventory Service on the top, and an employee from the company initially told 41 Action News that leaving the documents in the dumpster was perfectly legal because it was private dumpster on private property.
"I see a dumpster that says Community Magazine & Newspaper Recycling," the collector said. "If you want to find one of these dumpsters you go out on the Internet and type in 'recycle dumpster,' and it will show you where the dumpsters are, which seems to be public domain."
The employee from Washington Inventory Service later changed her story and said the company was shredding old documents inside the building all day Wednesday, but one box was thrown in the recycle bin by mistake.
The employee removed the cardboard box from the dumpster but left all the records.
She declined to explain why she didn't shred the records.
Around midnight, 41 Action News went back to the dumpster and the confidential documents were gone.
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