By Sharon Gaudin
April 3, 2007
The Texas attorney general has charged RadioShack with violating
identity protection laws by dumping thousands of customer records in a
garbage bin behind a Texas store.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott hit the retailer Monday with two
charges. One of the charges carries a penalty of up to $50,000 for each
violation and one has a penalty of up to $500 for each abandoned record.
Abbott contends RadioShack's actions exposed its customers to identity
theft since the records contained names, addresses, Social Security
numbers, and credit card information.
The Attorney General's Office is investigating whether the tossed
information has been used in identity theft crimes.
Steve Schmidt, an area VP for RadioShack, called the breach an isolated
incident. The consumer electronics chain operates around 4,500 stores.
"We are aware of today's action by the Texas Attorney General's office,
and we fully intend to work amicably with them in reaching a resolution
to the matter," said Schmidt in an e-mail statement. "RadioShack takes
seriously its obligation to maintain and safeguard all company records,
especially when they contain a customer's non-public information. Our
Northshore Plaza store in Portland, Texas, is part of a shredding
program we have in place throughout the state for the secure disposal
and destruction of such documents as required by Texas law. In this
isolated instance, the store did not act in accordance with this
program. However, we moved quickly to reclaim and secure those
The Attorney General's Office launched an investigation after receiving
reports that RadioShack employees dumped bulk customer records in
garbage containers behind a store in Portland, which is near Corpus
Christi, according to a release from the AG's office. Investigators
found the records contained sensitive customer information, including
Social Security numbers, credit and debit card information, names,
addresses, and telephone numbers.
The records included personal information from one customer's 1998
credit application and a receipt from a local woman who purchased a
shredder from RadioShack to protect herself from identity theft, the
attorney general reported. Sensitive information from a credit card
issued to the city of Portland also was discovered among the discarded
"Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United
States," Abbott said. "Texans expect their personal information to be
protected. The Office of the Attorney General will take all necessary
steps to ensure that consumers are protected from identity thieves."
Abbott charged RadioShack with violating provisions of the state's 2005
Identity Theft Enforcement and Protection Act, which requires the
protection and proper destruction of clients' sensitive personal
information. He also charged the company with violations under Chapter
35 of the state's Business and Commerce Code, which requires businesses
to develop retention and disposal procedures for their clients' personal
Consumers who interacted with the Portland store are being warned to
carefully monitor bank, credit card, and any similar statements for
evidence of theft. Customers also should consider obtaining free copies
of their credit reports.
Consumers who wish to file a complaint may contact the Attorney
General's Office at 800-252-8011 or file a complaint online at this
site, where they also can obtain information on how to detect and
prevent identity theft.
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