TOPEKA (KSNT) – A national company that manages business documents has been fined nearly $500,000 for unlawfully disposing of documents containing personal information in public trash receptacles, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said today.
SearchTec, Inc. was found to have improperly thrown away documents in an unsecured trash can in Topeka according to the State of Kansas, Office of the Attorney General.
Three corporate entities associated with the business were fined $484,450 and ordered to make changes in their business practices, including proper disposal of documents and employee training.
Schmidt’s Consumer Protection and Antitrust Division filed complaints against the entities in 2017 after documents were not disposed of properly. The documents were placed in the trash bins without shredding or removal of personal information, a violation of the Wayne Owen Act, which is part of the Kansas Consumer Protection Act.
“Personal information” includes information such as a social security number, driver’s license number, financial account number, or credit or debit card number. Under Kansas law, businesses that collect the personal information of others have a duty to safeguard it.
The Wayne Owen Act, which is part of the Kansas Consumer Protection Act, requires the proper disposal of documents to prevent identity fraud.