Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott filed court documents alleging Select Physical Therapy Texas Limited Partnership and its parent company, Select Medical Corporation, for systematically exposing their customers to identity theft risk, the AG’s office reported.
According to documents filed by the attorney general, the defendants violated a 2005 law requiring them to protect any consumer records that contain sensitive information, including Social Security and bank account numbers.
The AG’s office says its investigators discovered that Select Physical Therapy Texas Limited Partnership, also known as HealthSouth Rehabilitation Center, exposed more than 4,000 pieces of its customers’ sensitive information, including Social Security numbers.
The state’s investigation was launched after reports from the Levelland Police Department indicated that bulk customer records were dumped in garbage containers behind a local building. Select Physical Therapy Texas Limited Partnership occupied the building until closing its office in October 2007.
According to Attorney General investigators, the records also contained credit and debit card information, names, addresses, and telephone numbers.
The boxes also contained copies of checks from several large corporations who contracted with Select Physical Therapy Texas Limited Partnership to conduct employee physicals and drug screenings.
Investigators also discovered sensitive medical information among the records, including initial evaluation and plan of care forms, insurance verification sheets, drug and alcohol testing verification forms, and social and vocational therapy questionnaires.
Select Physical Therapy Texas Limited Partnership and Select Medical Corporation are accused of violating provisions of the 2005 Identity Theft Enforcement and Protection Act, which requires businesses to protect and properly dispose of clients’ sensitive personal information. The Act gives the Office of the Attorney General authority to seek penalties of up to $50,000 per violation.
The Attorney General also charged Select Physical Therapy Texas Limited Partnership and Select Medical Corporation with violating 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.
Attorney General investigators are also working to determine if any exposed data has been used illegally. Consumers who interacted with the Levelland business should carefully monitor bank, credit card and any similar statements for evidence of theft. Customers should also consider obtaining free copies of their credit reports.
Source: Texas Attorney General’s Office, www.oag.state.tx.us.
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