50,000 Ohio taxpayers' information at risk

Posted at 9:38 PM, Jan 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-04 22:47:49-05

The Regional Income Tax Agency reported a key data disc containing the personal information of some 50,000 taxpayers has gone missing from its Brecksville headquarters.

RITA Executive Director Don Smith told the DVD was discovered missing back on Nov. 10 as his team was in the process of transferring information to a more secure system. A press release was posted on RITA's website Dec. 31.

Smith said the data disk included names, addresses and even social security numbers, and that RITA is now in the process of sending out 50,000 letters to warn taxpayers about the potential security issue.

The letters will include a consumer hotline, and provide taxpayers with identity security services.

"They also will receive a unique authorization code that allows them to receive credit monitoring service through Experian, and also an identity protection service," said Smith.

RITA's website is also providing complete information on the situation and how consumers can go about protecting themselves.

Alan Righi of Reminderville told he's not surprised RITA lost the data disk.

Righi contacted NewsChannel 5 to report he's been dealing with a RITA billing issue for nearly two years, with the agency sending his tax bills to the wrong address.

"It's really scary," said Righi. "The information that could be on the disc. It could ruin somebody's livelihood."

"Should they be protecting our information? Of course. Obviously, if they lost 50,000 people's names and addresses and information, they're not doing a very good job about it."

Meanwhile, Smith said RITA's seven-week investigation never uncovered the location of the missing disk, and that all warning letters should be received by taxpayers by Jan. 8.


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