Customer records from used car dealership found dumped in Detroit’s Brightmoor area

If you were a customer of Get Fresh Auto in Detroit, you may want to read a report by Randy Wimbley for Fox2.  Contacted after a watchdog found customer information just dumped on a debris-littered street, the used car dealership’s owner’s  responses to the reporter’s questions about how the papers wound up there reminded me of Sgt. Schultz in Hogan’s Heroes.

“As soon as I heard about it I came to retrieve everything I could retrieve,” he said. “I retrieved everything I could retrieve.”

FOX 2: “How did they get out here?”

“A guy picked up the wrong stack of stuff,” McCombs said. “It was just supposed to be trash, instead he picked up trash along with everything and he just dumped it.”

FOX 2: “But you know who he is right? We want talk to him because he’s the one responsible for this stuff being out here.”

“He was a fly by night dude, I don’t know. I don’t know,” McCombs said. “I wouldn’t even hire anybody to do this.”

FOX 2: “So you don’t know who this guy is, where he’s from or how he was in contact with your business?”

“No I don’t, I don’t know,” McCombs said.

Read more on Fox2.

McCombs did the right thing by responding immediately and personally to get out there and to try to retrieve everything and clean up the mess, but did he really not know who he had hired or arranged with to remove trash from his business? That person seemingly was on the premises in an area where boxes of customer records were. Did McCombs trust a stranger to be around customers’ personal information, unattended? What if the person hadn’t just dumped the records but had intentionally stolen them for misuse?

So… would you buy a used car from the dealership after that response – or trust him with your personal information?

And no, this is not one of those incidents that will make anyone’s “worst list” for the year – far from it. It is just one of those incidents that still happen all too often. States really need to require secure disposal of records with personally identifiable information and then enforce those laws. Every year, this site reports on incidents where paper records are just discarded unshredded. Many of them contain Social Security numbers or even sensitive medical information.  There’s no need to hack or burgle when you can just find stuff on the street or in dumpsters.



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