Local News

Raleigh man buys cabinet, discovers confidential files inside

Posted July 15, 2010 9:45 p.m. EDT
Updated July 15, 2010 10:55 p.m. EDT

— After purchasing a file cabinet for $15 from state surplus, a Raleigh man said he discovered folders containing personal information like social security numbers and addresses.

In the bottom drawer of the cabinet, the man, who asked not to be identified, told WRAL that he found folders labeled North Carolina Board of Nursing. The documents contained names of applicants, photos and in one case, fingerprints.

“It kind of buckles your knees because there is no excuse for that,” Division Director of N.C. Surplus Property Mickey Sauls said Thursday.

Sauls said items go through two checks before being sold to the public, first by the agency giving it up the item, then by surplus workers selling it.

Many of the documents found are dated between 2002 and 2004. Applicants have addresses in Raleigh, Garner, Durham and Wilmington.

Sauls said he understands the severity of the issue and plans to fix it.

“I can tell you, we have found stuff and this one slipped through,” Sauls said. “I am going to find out how it slipped through because it is unacceptable.”

The man who purchased the cabinet said he wants to get the documents back to state officials.

This is not the first time confidential information has been discovered in a state surplus purchased item.

In 2007, a man purchased a file cabinet from state surplus and found graduate student records from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill inside. The records contained social security numbers and other information. The files were returned to the school.