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Credit Repair Company Dumps Client Records

By Faye Mergel
Published: Monday, December 7th, 2009

It might just look like box of ordinary office files, but what a Battlefield, Missouri man discovered in a dumpster could have turned an identity fraudster into a millionaire. It was filled with folders containing personal documents, such as credit reports, from former clients of Nation Wide Credit Counseling.

Credit Repair Company Dumps Client RecordsThe Missouri Secretary of State’s office records show that the branch of Nation Wide operating in Springfield was dissolved. But those files were not disposed properly and were left to be discovered and used for fraud by anyone.

Dan Watson went to an old dumpster in a shopping center to put some garbage. The dumpster was naturally full after a holiday weekend. But what were not natural were the contents he found there—boxes of personal records from former clients of Nation Wide, a credit counseling firm.

Watson found credit reports, copies of blank checks, and social security cards. All of the sensitive information was left for others to see as none of them were blacked out. Watson commented that it was just an identity theft dream he found in the dumpster, adding that it was bad news for anyone whose personal information is found in the files.

Springfield pastor Mike Cheshier was among the people who sought counseling from Nation Wide. After reviewing his files, he noted that every bit of information concerning him and his family was found there. Cheshier’s phone number, credit report, salary, and even his social security number were found in the dumpster.

The last time he saw those files was about seven years ago when he asked for counseling from Nation Wide to help him keep negative items off his credit report. He added that those were the forms he was required to fill out to get the services.

Battlefield police authorities were prompted to conduct an investigation after finding out about the incident.

Watson said, if his files were in those boxes, he would grab a can of gas and burn them all out. As for Cheshier, he took all his files and drove away with them. The pastor suggested that counseling firms should be more careful since they hold somebody’s life in their hands those kinds of information. A credit report is a specially sensitive document since it contains personal identifying information fraudsters could use to open accounts under another person’s name.

Consumers are urged to guard themselves against identity crimes by properly disposing documents contain sensitive information. Those who review their credit report are advised not to share them with people they do not trust. Luckily for former Nation Wide clients, Watson says he has no plan of using their information to open credit card accounts.

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