YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – You may expect that your private information is kept private when applying for unemployment or food stamps, but WKBN Investigates found that isn’t necessarily the case in Mahoning County.
Such records are housed by the Department of Job and Family Services in the Oakhill Renaissance Place building in Youngstown.
WKBN discovered that those records — including names and social security numbers — were left in an unsecured area in the building. Anyone could walk in to look through the records.
If the information got into the wrong hands, someone’s identity could have been stolen.
After being confronted about the unsecured records on Wednesday, Job and Family Services Director Robert Bush ordered the area boarded up.
“The plan was to gate that area, which it was never done, but it was still my responsibility to secure those files,” he said.
Bush said the information in the boxes is now safe.
“That’s not going to be a problem in the future, because those paper documents are destroyed immediately on being scanned in,” he said.
The boxes have been there for at least eight years, according to Bush. They’re case file archives from JFS from before 2008.
Mahoning County Commissioner Carol Righetti said she was unaware that the boxes were left there. She called the situation dangerous and unacceptable.
She said she planned to check the area for other unsecured files. She’s asking every county department head to check their records and make sure that they’re secure.
She said so far, they haven’t found any evidence that private information in the files had been stolen.