Police Department Posted Social Security Numbers Online

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EDWARDSVILLE -- A parking lot fender bender in one Luzerne County Community ended up with social security numbers of those involved in the wreck, posted online.

Eleven area police agencies use the new web-based service, crashdocs.org to get crash reports to people involved in accidents.

But when a Luzerne County woman read her report online, she got angry, and worried by what she saw.

She does not want us to use her name or show her face, because she fears it could lead anyone watching this interview to her social security number.

"Its something I`m going to have to be concerned about for a long time," she said

Last month, a driver struck her parked car in a lot in Edwardsville and took off.

Police caught him.

To get the crash report for her insurance, police told her for $20, she could log on the website http://www.crashdocs.org.

She went to the website.

"I panicked," is how she described her feeling when she saw her social security number was posted on the report.

"I certainly trust the police with my social security number," she said. "I don`t trust it shared on a public website."

This just didn`t happen to the woman whose car was hit in that parking lot. The driver of the car that hit hers, and even a witness who stuck around and gave her story to police, all had their social security numbers uploaded, and put online.

"I`m glad it was brought to my attention," said Edwardsville Police Chief Dave Souchick.

He said the department's switch to crashdocs.org caused the problem.

Once he learned about it Souchick said he went to Carfax, the company that runs crashdocs.org.

Souchick said Carfax blacked out all social security numbers of drivers and witnesses on crash reports from Edwardsville.

"I think there probably were about 10 reports total since we started Carfax that we had to redact," said Souchick who also said all social numbers posted since the conversion to crashdocs.org in August are now offline.

Thirty police agencies in Pennsylvania use crashdocs.org, but in checking with Carfax and other agencies, it appears Edwardsville is the only department that often had social security numbers on its crash reports.

In the wake of what happened Chief Souchick changed Edwardsville's procedure so that no one who gets in an accident in Edwardsville, will be asked for their social security number.

"The damage could already be done," said the woman who is still worried.

In her case, thieves had a ten day window of opportunity to steal her identity.

She now has an ID theft protection service that will notify her if someone is using her social security number.

She had to spend $250 to get it!