Convenience Store Chain Accused Of Dumping Receipts

June 19, 2008

HOUSTON -- A Houston-based convenience store chain has been accused of exposing its customers to identity theft, KPRC Local 2 reported Thursday.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said Petroleum Wholesale, which operated Sunmart Travel Centers and Convenience Stores in 10 states, improperly disposed of customer records containing information including Social Security numbers, bank account number and credit and debit card information.

Investigators said that the company dumped hundreds of records in a publicly accessible trash container outside its former headquarters. Officials said the records included receipts with customers' names and full credit or debit card numbers, including expiration dates. The records also included returned checks and forms containing customers' names and bank routing, driver's license and Social Security numbers, investigators said.

The company has been charged with violating the 2005 Identity Theft Enforcement and Protection Act, which requires companies safeguard and properly destroy records containing sensitive information.

Petroleum Wholesale was also charged with violating Chapter 35 of the Business and Commerce Code, which requires companies to develop retention and disposal procedures for confidential information. It could be fined up to $500 per abandoned record.

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