Company exposes customers' social security numbers

Company exposes customers' social security numbers

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - A mailing mistake leaves the private information of some H&R Block customers at risk.

Leon Hazel, who lives in Boise, called KBOI's Truth Squad after he says quite the surprise came with his tax form this year. The front of the envelope it was in was showing his private information.

"I noticed it showed my name, and then it showed my address and everything, and then I looked at it again and it showed my social security number," Hazel told KBOI.

The letter was sent all the way from Kansas City, Missouri.

"How many touch your mail from Kansas City to Boise, Idaho?" Hazel asked.

Worried his identification could be stolen, he contacted H&R Block. He says the company gave him a year's subscription to a credit monitoring site. The website promises to safe guard his credit information for a year, but after that, he's on his own.
    
Hazel doesn't feel the threat of having his identity stolen will be over after that, however. He says when he tried to tell that to H&R Block, a representative from the tax company told him there would be no reason to believe it was responsible for any breach after a year's time.

"To me, 365 days is nothing," Hazel said. "A social security number's something you have for the rest of your life."

KBOI stepped in and tried to talk with the tax pros. They wouldn't tell us anything over the phone, but they did send us a statement reading:

"...We have received a limited number of reports that sensitive information may have been visible through the envelope window of a recent mailing. Protecting privacy is very important to H&R Block, and we take this matter seriously. While we believe the risk to anyone's personal information is low, out of an abundance of caution H&R Block has contacted potentially impacted clients directly. We are reviewing how this could have occurred and will take any steps needed to prevent this type of an incident from occurring in the future."

But Hazel says that doesn't ease his worries that his personal information could be out there now.

"I paid for their service...now i've got to deal with it for the rest of my life," Hazel said.

KBOI asked H&R Block how many others could have their social security numbers out there because of this mistake, but the company wouldn't say. It also wouldn't tell us where others being affected are from.