Personal information found in Cleveland dumpster

March 18, 2011 4:12:22 PM PDT
Some residents in Cleveland are upset after their personal information was found in a public dumpster. The personal details, including Social Security numbers, driver's license numbers and home addresses, were dumped just across from Cleveland City Hall. It's the kind of information identity thieves can use to make a victim's life miserable. And it was all given to the city by people who trusted it wouldn't be mishandled.

Cindy Henderson recognizes her job application. When we asked her what she thinks about her personal info being found in such a public place, Henderson replied, "It saddens me."

Her application with all her private information was found in a public dumpster on Tuesday. The manila envelopes were addressed to Council Member Eddie Lowry from the city of Cleveland.

We counted 10 applications with detailed information we blocked out for our cameras. The applicants were for municipal court judge.

The dumpster where they were discarded is across the street from City Hall. It's not the first time workers here say personal information has been left out in the open.

"There's been checkbooks and business records with people's names and information on it," said Samuel Windell of Operation Refuge.

Christine Latham began to cry, saying she's just recovered from identity theft and doesn't want to go through it again.

"Anybody could have picked this information up and I have kids and I don't know who could have got this information and now they know where I live," said Latham. "You trust people to do the right thing and it scares me."

The city of Cleveland did not respond to our request for an interview. Cleveland's mayor has said publicly that what happens to private information once it leaves City Hall is a process that needs to be reviewed.

We worked on this story with the help of our partners at Houston Community Newspapers. You can read more in The Cleveland Advocate.