Maryland Attorney General Settles with Mid Atlantic Processing
Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced that his Consumer Protection Division has entered into a settlement with MAP, LLC, a payment processing company formerly doing business as Mid Atlantic Processing, and Martin A. Taylor and Rony Natanzon, two officers of the company. The Division alleged that when Mid Atlantic Processing closed its Owings Mills office in May 2009, instead of properly disposing of business records containing private and sensitive consumer information, the business discarded those records in a dumpster. Seventy-seven boxes of business records that the Division alleged included consumers’ Social Security numbers, cancelled checks and other sensitive personal information were recovered by the police and provided to the Division. Under the Maryland Personal Information Protection Act, it is an unfair and deceptive trade practice for a business to destroy records containing customers’ personal information without taking reasonable steps to protect against unauthorized access to or use of the personal information.
“Mid Atlantic Processing did not take the required steps to safeguard the privacy of their customers’ personal information, making them vulnerable to identity theft,” said Attorney General Gansler. “When a business disposes of its client records that contain personal consumer information, it needs to shred the records or take other steps necessary to ensure that a consumer’s privacy is not compromised.”
Based on its investigation, the Division does not believe that any consumer’s personal information was compromised and the company and its officers denied any liability. However, the settlement requires the company and its officers to take reasonable steps to dispose of the 77 boxes of records in the Division’s possession, and to take similar steps in the future when disposing of records containing personal or sensitive consumer information. Such steps may include hiring a shredding company. The company and its officers also agreed to pay a $20,000 penalty.
Source: Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler