Social Security Numbers Visible On Envelopes Mailed By Wisconsin… AGAIN

Look, Wisconsin. We weren’t kidding around last time. We really did mean it when we said that it wasn’t cool to print people’s Social Security Numbers where anyone can see them. How can people who are smart enough to sell sausage shaped like beer (above) not able to figure out that the SSN is a secret?

For the third time in a little over a year and the second time this month the state of Wisconsin has issued mailings that accidentally disclosed the recipient’s SSN via the mailing label. In this case, rather than printing the SSN on the actual label, they printed it a little too close to the address window. A folding machine error then completed the screw up.

From the Journal-Sentinel:

Early this month, the state started mailing out federal 1099-G forms, which under federal law must include Social Security numbers. The form is being sent to those who received a 2006 state income tax refund after itemizing their deductions.

Out of the 300,000 pieces of mail sent, about 1,000 were returned to the state as undeliverable, and of those, eight showed the Social Security numbers through the address window on the envelope. All of those eight letters came from the same batch of 5,000; another letter returned from that batch did not show a Social Security number.

Morgan said it is impossible to know how many of the 5,000 letters had visible Social Security numbers, which can be used in identify theft.

He blamed an equipment malfunction for misfolding those letters.

Gov. Jim Doyle, who was in Mequon to announce manufacturing tax credits, said residents should be confident that the mistake won’t be repeated.

“It should be very evident that this is a very high priority,” Doyle said.

We’re going to be honest with you, Gov. Doyle… may we call you Jim? Thanks. It’s not evident at all, Jim.

State botches mail again [Journal-Sentinel] (Thanks, Erik!)
(Photo:jkottke)

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