Company Fails To Protect Employees’ Confidential Data

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — In a trash bin beside an office building in Wichita, Kan., hundreds of personnel files were tossed with confidential information – an easy grab for anyone who wanted to steal someone else’s identity.

Robin Monteverde, of Avalon, had her file tossed in that public bin.

“I was shocked that my personal information could have been made public,” she told KDKA Money Editor Jon Delano. “Anyone could have opened multiple credit cards in my name and that would have been financially damaging.”

Instead of shredding the documents, the files were tossed by Lone Star Business Solutions that handled the job applications for Lone Star Steakhouse based in Texas.

“I think it’s a really irresponsible action,” she adds.

Monteverde was not the only former employee of the steakhouse affected.

Sean Monikowski, of Cranberry, worked briefly at the Lone Star Steakhouse in Cranberry. He says he was outraged and scared when he learned that his records had not been shredded.

“Could have ruined my life and my family’s future,” he said.

Married with two children, Monikowski’s social security number and personal information was simply tossed in a bin.

“I was outraged that my private personal data was just out there, especially in the age of identity theft,” he said.

Carnegie Mellon University Professor Alessandro Acquisiti is an international expert in privacy issues.

“It’s quite appalling that it’s still happening nowadays,” Acquisiti said.

Shredding documents is an option, but, ironically, no law requires that yet.

Monteverde says we need the same rules that protect medical information.

“Your personal information should also be protected and not made public,” she said.

And Monikowski has this advice for Lone Star and every other employer.

“Clean up your act because you’re going to lose business and it’s unacceptable,” he said.

Certainly if your identity was stolen because of the carelessness of a former employer, you would have the basis for a lawsuit.

Lone Star Steakhouse has not returned calls from KDKA-TV.

Here’s the best advice experts give — check with your employer and make sure they have a policy to protect your personal identity information.

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  • J. Q. Public

    If you are think that Lone Star acted badly, boycott them. If enough people boycott them, they will have to go out of business and the managemant people that had no decent regard for the “little” people who were in these files, and allowed this to happen, will not be making money from this business, anymore. The employees who still work in the Lone Star restaurants will get new jobs with someone else, who will pick up the customers from Lone Star and treat them better.

    • Jane Q. Public

      Sure, lets put a company that employs thousands of people out of business because one person did something stupid and threw files in the dumpster instead of shredding them. And while we’re at it, let’s make sure we lynch that person responsible too! Just where do you think all these people will find new jobs at? I guess I can support them and their families with my tax money until they do.

      What rock do you people crawl out from under to make these absurd comments? Let me guess, you’re probably a Liberal, too.

  • jm

    I don’t think that boycotting a company to intentionally put them out of business is a viable or logical solution. To say that the employees who still work in Lone Star restaurants will get new jobs with someone else is irresponsible as getting jobs in this economy is not as easy as going to the next place of business and J.Q. Public’s advice would punish the many thousands of employees and management who had nothing to do with this careless, near criminal disregard for private information. A better solution may be to find the individual(s) responsible for this action, relieve them of their duties and have Lone Star compensate those affected by this careless act.

    • poop

      They will find new jobs and yes close a a place by boycotting is a way to make sure no other place will do this again

  • Bea

    Astounding this is not a law! Everyone raises cane about how the government is in their business too much. Yet, the people who are involved in their everyday lives, who actually have all their personal information, have no boundaries with regards to that info. Astounding!

  • Irony
  • KDKA


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