Texas AG Says Health Spa Chain Exposed Customer Records to ID Theft

August 7, 2007

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott cited Minnesota-based Lifetime Fitness and subsidiaries LTF Club Management Company L.L.C. and LTF Club Operations Company Inc., for systematically exposing its customers to identity theft, the AG’s office announced.

According to court documents filed by Abbott, Lifetime Fitness violated the law by repeatedly failing to protect customer records that contain sensitive personal information, including Social Security and credit card account numbers.

Investigators with the AG’s office discovered that several Life Time Fitness facilities in the Dallas-Fort Worth region exposed customers’ personal identifying information by discarding customer records in easily accessible trash cans behind the stores. According to investigators, the records included names, addresses, Social Security and driver’s license numbers, and credit and debit card information. Because the defendants offer child care and youth recreational facilities, the discarded documents also included names and dates of birth of several minors.

The defendants are accused of violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) and the 2005 Identity Theft Enforcement and Protection Act, which requires the safeguarding and proper destruction of clients’ sensitive personal information. Under the law, the AG has the authority to seek penalties of up to $25,000 per violation of the DTPA and $50,000 per violation of the Identity Theft Enforcement and Protection Act.

The AG also cited the defendants with violations of Chapter 35 of the Business and Commerce Code, which requires businesses to develop retention and disposal procedures for their clients’ personal information. The law provides for civil penalties of up to $500 for each abandoned record.

The legal action also cites Life Time Fitness with unrelated violations of the Health Spa Act for operating several Texas locations without being registered with the Secretary of State. Under the Act, Lifetime Fitness can face penalties of up to $1,000 per violation.

Source: Texas Attorney General’s Office, www.oag.state.tx.us.

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