Personal tax papers litter streets

RALEIGH Names, social security numbers, dates of birth, everything you need to open up credit card accounts, fell out of a van leaving a Jackson Hewitt office and landed along a busy capital boulevard for anyone to pick up.

"I saw a lot of papers scattering all over the other side of Capital Boulevard. Everybody came to see what it was," Eyewitness Jeffrey Costa said. "Even the manager joked about it, that it was snowing."

The white stuff Costa saw was a delivery man who lost his load while hauling tax papers from the Jackson Hewitt office at Capital and Starmount to the main office for filing and shredding.

"Estimating, over a thousand pieces of paper, well over a thousand," Costa said.

In the handful of papers obtained by Eyewitness News, we found; the name of a correctional officer, his social security number and his children's personal information; the name, social, date of birth of a Raleigh sales associate, and the same information on her children; the w-2 of a woman in Sanford who earns more than $76,000 a year; and all the personal information on Darlene Smith of Raleigh to open up credit card accounts in her name.

Smith's husband shared his concerns Wednesday.

"It does concern me. If anyone gets their hands on that they can go out and open up accounts," Darlene's husband Elgin Smith said. "It can destroy a family. There'd be no way to get no credit, no credit cards. It could destroy your whole life. I'm glad you brought this to my attention. We appreciate it."

"The person that was driving the truck should've been more responsible, or the van or whatever the papers came out of should have been more responsible to secure all that private information," Costa added.

Jackson Hewitt said when the load was lost; employees came out right away and spent two hours picking up every piece of paper and that no one's information was lost.

When asked about the customer's information on the papers Eyewitness News found, the representative then said they secured 99.9 percent of their customer's information.

He adds they take the issue very seriously and points out the papers were on their way to be shredded.

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