DENVER (CBS4)– As Greg Frakes roots around a garage on his East Colfax Avenue property in Denver, he is amazed at what his last tenant abandoned and left behind: boxes filled with files of job applicants’ personal information containing copies of Social Security cards, tax records, driver licenses and job applications for hundreds of people.
“I couldn’t imagine they would be very happy,” observed Frakes. “I just think the company needs to be held accountable for putting all these people at risk.”
Frakes rented a storefront on East Colfax to a temp staffing company, Mile High Staffing, in 2017.
But when he recently went to the property to deal with a water leak, he found the company had closed down midway through their lease, taking their furniture and computers but leaving behind boxes stuffed with file after file of employment applications containing critical personal information.
Frakes estimated there were hundreds of such files for people like Issac Gomez, who had submitted an application with the staffing agency when he was looking for work.
“I thought it would be disposed of properly and taken care of,” said Gomez, ”I didn’t think it would be left in a box.”
CBS4 found photocopies of Gomez’s driver license, Social Security card, W4 tax forms and several documents containing his signature, and tracked him down.
“It’s all just out there for anyone to walk along and pick up. Luckily I didn’t become the victim of identity theft,” he said.
CBS4 returned the file to Gomez and he said he would shred the documents.
A spokesman for Mile High Staffing told CBS4 the company had gone out of business. CBS4 tracked down the companies’ former office manager, Jo Jaramillo, who now works at another temp agency. The boxes of personnel files were returned to Jaramillo.
“I don’t know why it was left behind,” she said. ”It should have been shredded.”
She blamed the problem on movers but said she would now properly shred the documents.
Another applicant, Edward Cruz, called what Mile High Staffing did “just irresponsible, bad practice.”
CBS4 found his personal information abandoned as well including his tax forms, copies of his driver license and Social Security card.
“They basically have a blueprint of my life- they could do whatever,” said Cruz. “If someone got this information they could rack up a bunch of charges under your name or buy something under your name.”
Cruz said he planned to shred the documents that CBS4 returned to him.
Cole Wist, a former state representative, co-sponsored a 2018 data privacy law after he was the victim of identity theft. He said what the company did was beyond the pale.
”It goes beyond negligence. This is grossly negligent for someone to not take reasonable care of documents and information. I’m blown away by it, it’s stunning, it’s a complete breach of trust.”
Wist’s law was designed to protect the kind of personal information that was left behind by the staffing company.
“That stuff should have been shredded immediately by this business when this information was no longer needed. Of all the documents to leave behind, these were the last they should have left behind.”
Gomez said what CBS4 found “makes me nauseous that people don’t care.”