We think it’s reprehensible that the personal, private information of dozens, if not hundreds, of people are lying in the trash and totally accessible to would be identity thieves.
The story we broke on our front pages last week breaks our hearts.
Behind the Better Homes Depot, at 106-10 Rockaway Boulevard in Ozone Park, sit dozens of big, black trash bags.
Most are filled with boxes of files – in these files are personal, confidential pieces of information, including Social Security numbers, W-2 forms, 401K documents, employment records, full credit histories, even home addresses and cell phone numbers.
In this day and age of identity theft, it’s ridiculous – and illegal – to just trash people’s sensitive information – given in confidence.
In fact, according to the New York General Business Law Section 399H, records should be shredded before disposal or personal identifying information should either be destroyed or modified/redacted to make it unreadable.
The last listed owner of the location, Eric Fessler, is nowhere to be found.
He and his company were ordered to pay out more than $600,000 in consumer restitution and fines by the Department of Consumer Affairs for allegedly misleading many first-time homebuyers and engaging in deceptive trade practices.
Will the deceit ever end?
What’s worse is that a neighbor, Joanne Uhl – and The Courier – have been trying to head identity thieves off at the pass and protect these unknowing potential victims.
The Department of Sanitation (DOS), Department of Health, District Attorney, local politicians, even the FBI, have been contacted, but to no avail.
No one will touch the sensitive trash “because it’s on private property.”
All the DOS did was to issue a dirty area summons – a mere $100 fine – to the owner, who can’t be tracked down.
We think this is absurd.
Hard-working home and business owners are issued DOS fines – in much higher amounts – for much less.
Someone must step up and take custody of all of this "sensitive garbage" and make sure it is disposed of in the right way – according to the law.