COLUMBUS (WCMH) – A man who served more than a decade in prison for identity theft-related crimes said he received the Social Security numbers of more than 2,000 inmates in response to a records request.
Lonny Bristow, 43, said he filed a records request with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction to obtain a roster of inmates at a prison in Chillicothe. He told NBC4 he’s made similar requests in the past.
When he received a response, Bristow said the information was more than just the inmates’ names and numbers. Their Social Security numbers were included.
Bristow told NBC4 he served more than 12 years in prison in Ohio for credit card and phone fraud, as well as identity theft. Court documents from Scioto County and Warren County confirm some of the charges against him. Most recently, Bristow served federal time for calling in bomb threats to courthouses in five different states.
Speaking to NBC4 by phone on Tuesday, he said he finally stopped doing what he was doing because he was “tired of being locked up” at 43 years old.
When he received a response to his records request, he said he contacted his email provider to have his account shut off before contacting the FBI and ODRC to ask what to do.
He said the ODRC told him to destroy the information and send a letter saying he didn’t and wouldn’t use any of the information.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the ODRC said, “This is a situation that we are taking very seriously. We are taking prompt action in investigating the circumstances surrounding the release of this protected information. We are actively looking into identity theft monitoring services for those whose information was released.”
Bristow, who was released from his federal sentence just two months ago, said he deleted the information he had received.
If you believe your identity has been compromised, the Federal Trade Commission recommends calling companies where you know fraud occurred, putting an alert on your credit report, reporting identity theft to the FTC and filing a report with a local police department. More information and recovery tips are available at identitytheft.gov.