KS: Company that dumped private records in public trash is fined

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AP reports:

A national company will pay nearly $500,000 in fines for improperly disposing of documents that contained personal information of clients, the Kansas Attorney General’s Office said.

Attorney General Derek Schmidt sued SearchTec, which has a satellite office in Kansas, in 2017.

Read more on Lexington Herald-Leader.

From the Kansas Attorney General’s Office:

TOPEKA – (November 1, 2021) – A national company that manages business documents has been fined nearly $500,000 for unlawfully disposing of documents containing personal information in public trash receptacles, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said today.

Shawnee County District Court Judge Teresa Watson last week approved consent judgments against SearchTec, Inc., for violations of the Kansas Consumer Protection Act and the Wayne Owen Act. Three corporate entities associated with the business were fined $484,450 and ordered to make changes in their business practices, including proper disposal of documents and employee training.

Schmidt’s Consumer Protection and Antitrust Division filed complaints against the entities in 2017 after documents in the custody of SearchTec were found improperly disposed of in unsecured trash receptacles in Topeka. The documents were placed in the trash bins without shredding or removal of personal information, a violation of the Wayne Owen Act, which is part of the Kansas Consumer Protection Act.

“Personal information” includes information such as a social security number, driver’s license number, financial account number or credit or debit card number that can be misused to commit identity theft or otherwise harm the person whose information is compromised. Under Kansas law, businesses that collect the personal information of others have a duty to safeguard it.

The case is State of Kansas ex rel v. Searchtec, Inc., et al. Copies of the consent judgments can be found at www.InYourCornerKansas.org/judgments.

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