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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Dozens of folders containing people’s personal information and medical records — including social security numbers, copies of driver’s licenses and other critical information — were found scattered along Kernan Boulevard by a Jacksonville landscaper.
The paperwork that could be used to steal someone’s identity was found by a local landscaper named Matt on Thursday.
In a video, you can see the folders on the busy road, in the grass in front of businesses, and near a heavily-used sidewalk. He told News4JAX he was about to begin cutting the lawn at one of his commercial properties when he made the unexpected discovery.
“I’ve picked up about 50 of these already — maybe more,” Matt said in the video that shows papers and folders littering the roadway.
He told News4JAX the folders contained social security numbers, driver’s license photos, Medicaid cards, and other medical records.
“It would be easy to steal someone’s identity with this information alone,” Matt said. “I picked the majority of them up that I could see,” he said.
Matt said he collected half a garbage can full of medical records. He said the folders appeared to be from the Allen Eye Center. News4JAX tried calling the facility, but they were closed on Friday.
The landscaper said he called and spoke to an employee at Allen Eye Center on Thursday. The employee told him the documents were given to a shredding company, and that the papers were supposed to be shredded. (continue reading below video)
“She said the shredding company was supposed to take care of it and it fell off the truck,” he said.
He described one of the papers he found inside a folder to News4JAX.
“It looks like a biopsy picture with someone’s first and last name. It’s dated 1998, but it’s still not anything that I think these people want to be displayed in public.”
News4JAX drove along Kernan Boulevard on Friday to see if there were any other folders laying around. To our surprise, we found multiple. The ones we found were empty and did not contain personal information like the ones Matt found.
He said this makes him nervous that all of this personal information was out for anyone to pick up — and that he will be turning the papers over to the police.
Experts say if you’re throwing away personal documents on your own, make sure they’re shredded.