L.A. Warns 94,000 Of Possible ID Theft

March 31, 2006



County officials have sent 94,000 letters warning people of possible identity theft after documents containing their confidential information were publicly exposed in January.

The documents were left next to a recycling bin in a parking garage outside a Department of Public Social Services office in Exposition Park. The documents contained names, addresses, phone numbers, Social Security numbers and medical information of people who received services from the office in the last two to three years, said department spokeswoman Shirley Christensen.

There have been no reports of identity theft from any of the 2.2 million people who use the department's service, Christensen said.

In a report to the county Board of Supervisors, department director Bryce Yokomizo wrote that extra precautionary measures have been taken, including mandatory shredding of all documents going to the recycling bin. Officials met with their shredding company, SafeShred, to develop a "pre-scheduled weekly reporting requirement" to make sure compliance with the shredding policy, City News Service reports.

"I can assure your board that the enhanced safeguards now in place will serve to prevent this from happening again, and that your expectations will be fully met," Yokomizo said in the memo.

Officials also replaced all exterior recycle bins with lockable shred containers, Yokomizo wrote in his report to the Board, City News Service reports.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]