It's an identity thief's dream: Boxes and boxes of income tax returns were recently found at a former H & R Block office in Coeur d'Alene. Those returns had been left behind for nearly a year.
We live in a world where our identity can be stolen with a swipe of a card. And when we trust the professionals to handle our personal information we expect it will be in safe hands. But when H & R Block moved out of an office in Coeur d'Alene, boxes of names, numbers and tax information were left behind.
From the outside, a nondescript office space off 4th Street in Coeur d'Alene looks empty, but when Harvest Klinge looked a little closer she couldn't believe what she saw.
"They had years from 2006 to 2009 of people's tax returns," she said.
In all, 30 boxes full of private information, just sitting there left behind by H & R Block.
"Their names, social security, date of birth, driver's license number, all that info on one piece of paper," Klinge said.
Klinge manages the building where H & R Block was located until they moved out last April. When they packed up their offices and moved out they left a lot behind, as Klinge found out Tuesday, when she was preparing for a new tenant and found the tax returns in a storage room.
"We had no idea, honestly, that it was here, it shocked all of us that they just left it," she said. "It's not like someone would have to search for it, it's all right there."
Klinge piled up the boxes -- all 30 of them -- and called H & R Block, who picked up the boxes Thursday.
The company said they are taking this matter very seriously and are concerned that in this instance, their process was not followed when an office was moved to a new location.
In a statement they said, "As soon as we became aware of the situation, we made plans to retrieve the documents. We appreciate the cooperation of the building's property manager."
Thanks to Klinge's honesty these documents aren't in the hands of identity thieves. But she said she won't be using H & R Block for her taxes again.
"It infuriated me because I am an H & R Block client and they promise so much and guarantee ... these are supposed to be the ones that safeguard your information," she said.
H & R Block said they are reviewing the situation to determine why their policies were not followed in this case. The company added they are investigating the matter to identify any potential client impacts and that the boxes are in their possession and are safe.