Consumer electronics retailer RadioShack has dumped "thousands" of customer records behind a store in the US, exposing consumers to possible identity theft, government lawyers have claimed.
The allleged exposure echos the scandal in the UK last month, when 11 banks were found to have dumped customer data in outside rubbish bins. But while the UK banks received a stern slap on the wrist from the Information Commissioner’s Office, the US retailer faces legal action under Texas identity theft laws.
Texas attorney general Greg Abbott said the electronics firm had violated several state statutes, including the 2005 Identity Theft Enforcement and Protection Act, which requires businesses to protect and properly dispose of customer personal information.
State investigators followed up reports that workers at a RadioShack store in Portland, Texas, dumped customer records and receipts in a bin behind the store on or around 21 March. Abbott said the records contained social security numbers, credit and debit card information, names, addresses and telephone numbers of customers.
"Texans expect their personal information to be protected," Abbott said. "The Office of the Attorney General will take all necessary steps to ensure that consumers are protected from identity thieves."
Under the state's identity theft law, RadioShack could face fines of up to $500 (£250) for each abandoned record.
Ironically, one receipt found among the dumped data was from an August 2005 store transaction in which a customer purchased a paper shredder. The receipt included the customer’s name, address, telephone number, credit card account number and the expiry date for the card.
RadioShack was not available for comment.