EL PASO - After learning his personal and business documents containing social security numbers and bank account information were thrown away in a public dumpster, two businessmen in the borderland feel shocked, disappointed, and even disgusted.
A business called Tax Matters, right next to the dumpster, said a new employee dumped the documents instead of properly shredding them. Still, the people affected have a lot more questions.
"You hire a professional to do your billing, your tax work, who has a fiduciary responsibility to you, you never expect them to act in an unprofessional manner," said one of the men whose documents were found in the rubble. He's asked that we conceal his identity and not name his business. A source tipped off our newsroom and our management team sifted through the mess.
Items found in the garbage were confidential documents, tax returns, social security cards - seemingly pertaining to one office in El Paso.
"Once I got here I saw documents that I couldn't believe were just left in the dumpster," said another man who works in the office. He also asked that we conceal his identity.
"From bank account numbers and routing numbers to canceled checks to W2's, social security numbers, pretty much all myself and family's personal information," he said, describing what he found.
Many of the documents had a "Tax Matters" logo on them. The office says they used to have the company do their billing.
"We had broken our relationship several years ago," the first man said.
An anonymous source said they saw someone from Tax Matters with an armful of those documents and dump them in the trash can. An on-camera interview with the principal from Tax Matters was declined, they they told us over the phone that they had told a new employee to prepare some files for a third-party shredding service. They said that employee took those directions to mean, 'dump it.'
"We take every action to maintain our client's privacy," they said. "This was an isolated incident. it's unfortunate but no harm was meant."
But that's not enough for these men.
"When we had split up with the company we had asked him to give us back all our records," the first man said, not knowing why they still had thousands of papers to get rid of.
"I just couldn't believe it, I just thought that in this day and age with so much identity theft and crime, something as silly as this wouldn't happen," the second man said.
"Thank you to NewsChannel 9 for finding this out and saving me a lot of grief," the first man added.
Tax Matters toled the news channel that employee that dumped the documents has been fired. Because this appears to be a violation of the Identity Theft Enforcement and Protection Act, the Attorney General's office in Austin says they are investigating.
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