A Florida investigation is under way to determine why hundreds of medical records containing patients’ personal information—including Social Security numbers—was discarded in a Port Orange dumpster.
The manager of a Family Dollar store discovered the documents in the trash. Store manager Tim Cowell said he found the documents as he was starting his shift at the Ridgewood Avenue retail outlet. Cowell called authorities and took photos of the papers, which included names, addresses, insurance information and Social Security numbers of patients.
“Dumpster diving” is among today’s many tactics taken by criminals to steal identities, note Florida Social Security lawyers at Johnson & Gilbert in Ormond Beach. In the wrong hands, a trash bin filled with personal information with names and social security numbers could be disastrous, they say.
Cowell described the situation as “scary,” to think anyone would have purposely discarded so many papers containing confidential information.
Among the photographs taken by Cowell was a shot showing the address of an office once occupied by Ormond Beach chiropractor Dr. Stephen Secunda, who died in 2011.
The property manager for the South Nova Road office said no one had leased the office since Dr. Secunda’s death.
When a physician dies, patient records are supposed to be retained for at least two years, according to the Department of Health. Protocol requires repeated notices with local news outlets informing patients how they may retrieve their records.
Johnson & Gilbert’s Ormond Beach Social Security attorneys encourage everyone to pay close attention to how their personal information is kept secure.
The records found in the trash are now in the custody of the Orange Port Police Department where an active investigation is under way, according to Capt. David Meyer.
Among the records were those of Herbert Weems, who said he finds the incident disturbing.
A person would not expect his doctor’s office to discard names and Social Security numbers in a dumpster, Weems asserted. He called the incident upsetting, especially because he has already been a victim of identity theft.
Ormond Beach-based attorneys at Johnson & Gilbert note the importance of keeping Social Security numbers and information confidential cannot be overemphasized. They have been representing clients with Social Security problems for more than 15 years. Persons with Social Security questions or who need help preparing a claim are invited to call them at 386.673.4412 or toll-free at 800.556.8890 for a free consultation.