Printing company to pay $110,000 for Social Security number snafu

January 20, 2007

Associated Press

A printing company that inadvertently printed Social Security numbers on 171,000 tax forms will pay $110,000 toward free credit monitoring for those affected, the company president said.

Andy Lyke, a co-owner of Ripon Community Printers, said the most urgent priority was to stem the damage from the oversight.

"These days when people are more sensitive to having their information out there, it's a shame that we did that," Lyke said at the time.

The tax forms were mailed out around the last week of December. Some 54,500 undelivered booklets were retrieved from post offices in Portage, Madison and Oshkosh but the rest were sent out, according to officials from the state Department of Revenue.

The state will pay the rest of the credit-monitoring cost for those affected who choose to use the service.

Meredith Helgerson, a Revenue Department spokeswoman, said the printer needed the Social Security numbers to make sure the forms went to the correct locations but she couldn't say exactly how the information was used.

The misprinted labels went to taxpayers who used the basic Form 1 and filed jointly as married couples for the 2005 tax year. People who filed their taxes with other forms, filed electronically or had a professional service prepare their taxes were not affected.

The department notified the three major credit bureaus but did not provide taxpayers' names, Helgerson said.

The credit bureaus had said giving the names could result in people being flagged and having their credit reports frozen, which would inhibit their ability to get a loan, she said.

"We don't want to cause any more trouble for these taxpayers," she said.

Lyke said he hoped the credit monitoring would provide peace of mind to those affected.

The state paid the printer $22,000 to print the forms.

The printing company is a family business with 320 employees.

main page ATTRITION feedback