COLUMBUS (WCMH) — All of us try to protect our personal information, but identity thieves are everywhere. So imagine the surprise of one local viewer when he was able to view personal information of people he didn’t know on a state of Ohio website.
That’s when he decided he Better Call Jackson.
John O’Brien III went to check the status of his claim from the Bureau of Workers Compensation by entering his social security number. But then he noticed he was also able to see names, home addresses, phone numbers, places of employment, rate of pay, and social security numbers of two other people.
“I’m thinking if I can see other people’s social security numbers, how many people can see other peoples, mine, yours, anybody’s,” O’Brien told Better Call Jackson.
The claims of the other individuals are from the Cincinnati and Cleveland areas and are from the year 2000.
We discovered the possible connection between O’Brien and the other claims.
“That claim number right there is where we’d find those two other people and myself where the same claim number so that I think is the common denomination,” said O’Brien.
We reported the problem to the Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation. Communications Director Bill Teets says,
BWC takes the confidentiality of its customers’ personal information very seriously and we work with our employees and partners to ensure that information is kept safe. Each year, BWC employees, injured workers, providers, MCOs and others produce 25 million pages of documents that are indexed into our system. On the very rare occasion, errors such as transposed numbers will result in a document being misfiled. Most are immediately corrected. In cases where we believe confidential information has been erroneously shared, we contact the impacted individual. We thank NBC4 for bringing this matter to our attention, and within minutes of their contacting us, the error in question was fixed.
Although BWC is a state agency, this can serve as a reminder for consumers to double check their accounts and report any discrepancies as soon as possible.