Social Security numbers, other personal information found in dumpster behind Gilbert business

GILBERT, AZ - A “mistake” is what led to the discovery of people’s names and Social Security numbers in a Gilbert dumpster.

A tipster told ABC15 to look in the trash adjacent to Desert Title Service near Baseline and Lindsay roads.

The dumpster was accessible to anyone and was not behind a locked gate; its top door was closed.

ABC15 found thousands of loose papers, not shredded and not redacted, which contained identifying information about people including their Social Security number.

I feel “irate,” said Robert Gomez, whose information was in the dumpster.

Gomez said he is upset “that people can be so careless and lazy in their jobs and not… shred [the papers].”

The business is a third-party vendor for the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department.

Desert Title can issue or renew vehicle registrations and issue titles.

The company’s president, Brian Steele, said the incident was the result of an employee's inexperience.

A new employee threw away the papers instead of shredding them, Steele said.

It was mistake that has never happened before and will not happen again, Steele said.

ABC15 alerted Gilbert Police to the papers before leaving the scene Monday night.

Police arrived and removed the papers.

When contacted by ABC15, an Arizona Department of Transportation spokesperson released a statement that reads, in part:

“Following a review by local police, an ADOT-led investigation has been launched. Gilbert Police have turned over the bags of records to ADOT, and a review of documents is ongoing.

“ADOT considers the protection of each customer’s personal information to be of utmost importance. There are current policies and procedures in place that govern how records are maintained and how they are to be properly disposed or destroyed.”

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