A soggy pile of hundreds of old tax returns was found in front of an abandoned Jackson Hewitt tax prep office in San Francisco in late October. The papers had social security numbers, names, addresses, and phone numbers, a potential goldmine for any identity thief who got their hands on them.
The San Francisco Chronicle reached the broker whose name was on the building. He told them he had been trying to evict the former tenant for months for not paying for rent.
Reached for comment, the former manager of the Jackson Hewitt office acknowledged to the San Francisco Chronicle that he had left some boxes with papers behind because they were “so heavy I couldn’t lift them.” However, he said he had “edited” the files and they were all over four years old. He agreed that they “shouldn’t been out there,” but, “as far as I was concerned they were properly disposed of.”
“Jackson Hewitt takes the issue of privacy very seriously and we are looking into this matter fully,” Jackson Hewitt corporate told the San Francisco Chronicle. It then proceeded to draw a line between it and the local office and take a step back from the situation, saying “The company expects its franchisees, which independently own and operate their businesses, to comply with the terms of their franchise agreements. Accordingly, they are responsible for conducting their operations in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, including those designed to safeguard the privacy and financial records of each client.”
Abandoned S.F. tax office’s returns left outside [San Francisco Chronicle] (Thanks to Paul!)