Audit Finds Confidential Documents in Open Spaces at Rath Building

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw calls it a treasure trove for identity thieves. Thousands of documents containing sensitive information of residents were found in open areas within the Rath Building.

Mychajliw says the discovery began when his office was asking the department of social services if it was rubber stamping applications to continue receiving temporary assistance. “We asked the department to let us look at the documents, they told us no. They put up a brick wall,” says Mychajliw. “They told us these documents were so sensitive in nature, we couldn’t look at them, and if we did, they’d have to redact them.”

Mychajliw says what he found was disturbing. “They were dumping (the documents) in open boxes and open bins leaving county residents to identity theft,” says Mychajliw.

Copies of the personal documents that were dumped in open boxes and totes without being shredded include:

Birth certificates
Social security cards
Social security numbers on various county forms
Passports
Payroll records
Medical information
Inmate records
Personal bank account numbers
Tax returns
Court records

He says it’s up to the Poloncarz administration to report this disclosure of confidential to both the Federal and State authorities. He adds they are also responsible to inform Erie County taxpayers that their confidential information has been inappropriately disclosed.

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