Police tickets discarded with your personal information - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Police tickets discarded with your personal information

By Antwan Harris
Eyewitness News Reporter

Chattanooga, TN (WRCB) -- Dottie Stevens of Four Paws and One Tail says it's not uncommon for someone to throw trash in the dumpsters behind her store.

She says what concerns her is what doesn't end up in the dumpster and finds its way to the back door.

She found a Chattanooga Police citation with someone's personal information including social security number lying on the ground.

"Oh yeah it has all types of information that could lead to identity theft," says Stevens.

It's the second one she has found in two weeks and police spokesperson Sgt Jerri Weary says while it is concerning this information was just left out there, it's not highly unusual this happened.

"We have had instances where officers' cars have been broken into. We have had cases where officers have passed away and booklets have been thrown out unknowingly," says Weary.

Weary says it's rarely a case of just being irresponsible.

Officers are responsible for the ticket books for a yearly audit, and court cases.

"We do not throw out the tickets. We retain the items for at least three to five years. You never know when that case will come back up," says Weary.

Stevens says regardless of how the tickets ended up behind the store, she wanted to make sure no one got the idea to use the person's information.

She says she got rid of the ticket the best way she knew how.

"That is pretty personal information there so yeah shred them or find a better way to dispose of them," says Stevens.

Police say if you find any documentation with someone else's information on it, you can call an officer to dispose of it.

You can try calling the person in question and make sure they are aware their personal information is out there.

According to the U.S. Justice Department,  identity theft happens every 2 seconds and 8.3 million Americans have been affected in the past 3 years.

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