Some manipulated mail has caused anxiety among Bend residents because personal information has been revealed. Ironically, the Social Security benefits tax record was open, revealing their Social Security numbers and other personal information.
Some individuals in the 97702 ZIP code have reported that a critical piece of mail has come in a manner that exposes their Social Security numbers as well as other private details.
Mailings in question
What concerns them the most is that the letters in question are IRS Form 1099s, which document payments made to someone and are delivered to both the worker and the IRS.
According to KTVZ, Vera Gilbert of Deschutes River Woods stated the perforated sides of her and her husband’s 1099 papers for Social Security income had been neatly peeled off. She posted about it on Nextdoor.com to see if anyone else was experiencing the same problem.
Gilbert said on Wednesday that within an hour or two, others start responding with, ‘The same thing occurred to me,’ so they know it’s not a coincidence. She added that they can tell it hadn’t been through the sorting process because it wasn’t jammed or shredded.
Other people complained that the left tear-off portion, which secures and conceals the information, had been removed, revealing their Social Security numbers.
Suspicions of where it could have happened
Gilbert mentioned that she has a latched mailbox, so it’s unlikely that a stranger walked by and meddled with the mail. That leads her to suspect that it occurred during the delivery procedure of the United States Postal Service.
Gilbert said that it raised a lot of red flags for her. The same thing happened to an anonymous couple last Thursday, according to them. They received a photo of their letter via the USPS notified delivery option, and the perforated sides were visible in the photo.
But by the time their letter arrived, it had been ripped off. They’re also confident it happened while they were working for the USPS. Gilbert stated that when she noticed the tear, she immediately contacted the Social Security office.
When reached, Gilbert was told that she was the first one to call in and was advised to call the credit bureau to stop anyone who will use their social security number to gain access to their credit so she did what she was told.
Gilbert also stated that she received a few comments from residents of the 97701 ZIP code who stated that their forms were not affected.
Back in January 2014, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has released tips for those who might be worried about identity theft threats. They have advised that if your tax records are not currently compromised by identity theft, but you suspect you may be in danger as a result of a lost or stolen pocketbook or wallet, suspicious credit card activity, or a credit report, call the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490. (Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. local time; Alaska and Hawaii follow Pacific Time).
Later that day, after the story was aired, NewsChannel 21 learned from two other people – residents of La Pine, Sisters, and Prineville – who stated one part of their Social Security 1099 tax papers had also been torn apart – “neatly pulled up on one end,” the Prineville person said.
The USPS regional spokesperson stated he was unaware of the problem.