Personal documents, financial records found in dumpster

March 19, 2008

The personal information of hundreds of local residents is now out in public view.

Social Security numbers and financial records of customers of a Flint-based realty mortgage company have been found in a dumpster.

Affordable Realty occupied office space inside the Ben Agree building on Dort Highway for years.

The company was evicted and all of its sensitive customer information ended up outside in a dumpster or on the ground nearby.

Included in the papers are bankruptcy statements, financial records, Social Security numbers and addresses of clients who once did business with Affordable Realty.

Witnesses say the business had recently been evicted and they report seeing Genesee County Sheriff's Deputies clearing the office space a few days ago.

Since that time, at least one person claims to have seen people rummaging through the dumpster, picking up papers, going through them very carefully and walking away with some.

Some fear this very sensitive information may end up in the wrong hands, and are particularly concerned with identity theft.

We talked to Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell about how this type of personal information should be handled.

"What the process server should have done is get the stuff, call the landlord and say 'I'm packing this up, I'm putting it into my truck, I'm taking it to my warehouse. You're gonna have to pay for the storage,'" Pickell told ABC12's Dawn Jones.

We tried to reach the building owner, but our calls have not been returned.

The sheriff talks more about identity theft and how to protect your identity coming up later today on ABC12 News.

main page ATTRITION feedback