CVS latest retailer cited for identity theft violation

Cara Garretson
4/18/2007 – Deep in the heart of Texas, a Dumpster with papers it shouldn’t contain

April 18, 2007 (Network World) — The Texas Attorney General has taken legal action against CVS Pharmacy for exposing customers to identity theft the old-fashioned way.

According to a press release issued by Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office on Tuesday, employees at a CVS store in Liberty, Texas, chucked hundreds of customer records into a dumpster behind the storefront. Left in the trash were documents including customers’ names, addresses, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, prescriptions and doctors, according to the release.

Many of the credit and debit card numbers were still active when found, the release says, as expiration dates were included in the information.

While CVS’s actions won’t likely end up exposing as many customers’ to the risk of identity theft as other recent breaches, such as the colossal TJX network break-in, the Attorney General’s office is warning customers of that CVS location to monitor their finances for suspicious activity.

Such action on CVS’s part violates the 2005 Identity Theft Enforcement and Protection Act, a Texas state law that requires businesses to protect customer records that contain sensitive information, the release says. The law allows for prosecutors to seek up to $50,000 per violation.

In addition, CVS is charged with violating Chapter 35 of Texas’ Business and Commerce Code that requires businesses to practice appropriate retention and disposal procedures for personal information they store about their customers. This code allows for up to $500 in fines per unprotected record.

The Texas Attorney General has been busy chasing violators of identity theft protections lately, this action against CVS being the fourth of its kind in recent weeks. Earlier this month Abbott’s office took action against RadioShack, based in Fort Worth, for improper dumping of customer receipts containing personal information; in March the Attorney General took action against Jones Beauty College of Dallas for improperly disposing of students’ financial aid forms and also against talent agency On Track Modeling, based in North Carolina, for shutting down a Grand Prairie office and leaving behind more than 60 boxes full of client records.

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