Express concern that Social Security numbers, other personal info exposed
(Update: Adding video, comments from residents; also La Pine, Sisters, Prineville)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Some tampered mail has stirred concern among some Bend-area residents as personal information is exposed. Ironically, the Social Security benefits tax statement was open and exposing their Social Security numbers, among other info.
Some residents living in the 97702 ZIP code are reporting the key piece of mail has arrived in a form that leaves their Social Security numbers and other personal information exposed.
What makes it especially alarming to them is that the mailings in question are the IRS Form 1099, which documents payments made to someone, with copies sent to the worker and the IRS.
Deschutes River Woods resident Vera Gilbert said the perforated sides on her and her husband's 1099 forms for their Social Security benefits had been neatly torn off.
She shared a post about it on Nextdoor.com, to see if others had the same issue.
“Within an hour or so, people start responding saying, 'The same thing happened to me,' so I know it’s not just a coincidence," Gilbert said Wednesday. "You can tell (the form) hadn’t gone through the sorting machine, because it wasn’t jammed or all shredded here."
Other residents also commented that the left tear-off stub, which protects and conceals the information on the form, had been removed, exposing their Social Security numbers.
One thing Gilbert pointed out is that she has a locked mailbox, so it's unlikely a stranger walked by and tampered with the mail. That leads her to believe it happened at some point in the U.S. Postal Service mail delivery process.
“It raised a lot of red flags for me," Gilbert said.
One anonymous couple said the same thing happened to them last Thursday. They received a photo of their mail through the USPS informed delivery option -- and in the photo, the perforated sides were intact.
But by the time their mail was delivered, it was torn off. They're also convinced it happened while with the USPS.
Gilbert said she immediately reached out to the Social Security office, once she saw the tear.
“And they said that they haven’t received any complaints, that I was the first to call in, and they advised us to call the credit bureau, to stop anyone from trying to take out our credit with, using our Social Security number," Gilbert said. "So we did that.”
Gilbert said she received a few responses from people living in the 97701 ZIP Code who said their forms were not compromised.
And later Wednesday, after our story aired, NewsChannel 21 heard from two others -- residents in La Pine, Sisters and Prineville -- who said one side of their Social Security 1099 tax forms were torn open as well -- "neatly torn open on one end," the Prineville resident said.
The regional spokesperson for USPS said he was unaware of the issue.