Posted: Dec 23, 2012 11:09 PM by Jacqui Heinrich, firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated: Dec 23, 2012 11:14 PM
This one's a real eyebrow-raiser: a local man discovered some very personal information inside a package he ordered from Walmart.com. Instead of being stuffed with packing peanuts, the box was stuffed with shredded bank statements and emails from about fifty people, including organizations like Doctors Without Borders and the NCAA.
"In the wrong hands this could have been bad," Ron Meyers told News 5 reporter Jacqui Heinrich, sifting through hundreds of pieces of shredded paper. Meyers was just trying to order a Christmas gift for his 10-year-old daughter when he placed his order at Walmart.com; he got much more than he bargained for.
"When we opened the box we found everybody's personal information. It looks like it went through a shredder but they shredded it wrong," Meyers said.
The documents were shredded horizontally along what looked like lines in an Excel spreadsheet. "We have stakeholder reports, bank statements, all kinds of personal information. It was like the blades and the lines on the spreadsheet lined up perfectly to cut each and every one of them, perfectly legible the whole way through. We have about forty or fifty people's full information," Meyers said.
A simple Google search revealed the victims. "Doctors Without Borders people, we have some NCAA emails regarding contract negotiations. One of them is a politician out of Utah running for office right now," Meyers said.
Meyers says he contacted Walmart and got the runaround, so he passed the smoking gun to one of the victims: the co-chair of Doctors Without Borders of Utah. "Ms. Evans, enclosed is a package we received from Walmart. We placed the order through Walmart that was fulfilled by Wayfair. We also included a copy of the packaging slip," Meyers read from a hand-written note he plans on sending to Ms. Evans, whose personal information he found in the box. Meyers says he called Evans early on Sunday and she was shocked; she also confirmed some of the other names he found are those of her colleagues.
Though Meyers is doing the right thing, it leaves him wondering what would have happened had the box fallen into the wrong hands. "This would be perfect for somebody who is into identity theft. They could have gotten into email accounts, bank accounts," Meyers said. "I'd be a little upset, I'd want to know how my personal information ended up in a Christmas box in Colorado Springs if I lived in Utah."
The whole situation begs several questions: first, why are Walmart.com vendors using personal documents as packaging material in the first place? Also, how many other boxes are out there that aren't ending up on the doorstep of a good Samaritan like Ron Meyers?
Jacqui Heinrich contacted Walmart for their answer; Kory Lundberg answered the inquiry and said sometimes orders placed online are fulfilled through other vendors. Lundberg said he is passing on the information to others who will figure out exactly what happened. We will continue to update this story as we learn more.