Personal information found in dumpster outside gym - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Personal information found in dumpster outside gym

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LINCOLNTON, NC (WBTV) -

Kasey Ballard was not expecting a call from WBTV today.

"No, not at all," said Kasey Ballard. 

We weren't expecting to be handed her personnel file from when she worked at a now out-of-business fitness club in Lincolnton.  She left the job three years ago.

"I was upset after I got off the phone with you," said Kasey Ballard. "I was hot."  

Ronnie Ballard is the one who actually stumbled upon the information.  He contacted WBTV to ensure it would be kept safe.  

"They got pictures of drivers licenses, social security cards," said Ronnie Ballard. "I was shocked." 

It was all in a three-ring binder in a dumpster outside the former Cruz Fitness on East Main Street. He said he was checking inside to see if there might be some sports equipment for kids in the neighborhood. 

"Seeing what they were throwing away," said Ronnie Ballard. "Can something be reused, or something." 

What he found was pages of information that would be a gold mine to an identity thief. Former employee's W-4's, social security numbers, pay history, even a letter from doctor announcing one employee was pregnant.  

WBTV took the book to Lincolnton Police Department Sergeant Spencer Summers, to make sure the information was kept safe.  Sergeant Summers himself went through the dumpster looking for more information. 

"Definitely the full social security numbers, the W-4's that' shouldn't be in there," said Sgt. Summer. "I don't even know what to say about that. If it was me I would be upset."

The Attorney General's office is now investigating along with Lincolnton Police.  

State law is clear.  It says "Any business that conducts business in North Carolina" and "possesses personal information"  must take reasonable measures to protect it from "unauthorized access." The state has come down hard on companies not disposing of records properly. Some have been fined tens of thousands of dollars.  

WBTV called the company trying to lease the building. We wanted to know who ordered the building cleared out. The message we left by voicemail has not been returned.  

Sgt Summers is making sure the information is protected. He boxed up what he found to take back to police headquarters. 

Some relief to Kasey and the others whose info was out there for the anyone to see. 

"We just got married and we're trying to buy a house and that could stop us," said Kasey Ballard. 

If you think your information was exposed the Department of Homeland Security says you should change all passwords. You should also contact your bank and the credit reporting agencies.

You can find more information here.

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