A mangled piece of mail recently prompted Riverside’s village government to send out notices to more than 100 employees, warning them that some of their personal information — including their names, addresses, dates of birth, driver’s license numbers and any traffic tickets they have received — may have been exposed to others.
Letters went out to all of the village’s employees (including its paid-on-call firefighters) on April 23, explaining that the village each year requests a driver abstract from the Illinois Secretary of State, of any employees who may operate village vehicles.
The abstracts include any information on moving violations an employee may have received during the previous year and allows the village to know whether an employee’s driver’s license has been suspended.
Village Manager Peter Scalera sent the request to the Secretary of State in December 2013. When the envelope arrived in March, it came sealed in a plastic bag. Not only had the envelope been mangled, only about a dozen abstracts of the 103 requested were inside, according to Scalera.
“From the looks of the envelope, it looks like it fell behind something and got destroyed. The post office just sent what they recovered,” said Scalera.
While the abstracts did not contain anyone’s Social Security number, Scalera said the village moved to try to protect village employees from having their identities stolen. The village paid $19 per employee to purchase credit protection for all of them for one year, an expenditure of $1,957.
“There’s been no identity theft as far as we know,” said Scalera, who turned the mangled envelope over to Riverside police. They contacted both the Secretary of State and U.S. Postal Service. According to Scalera, the Secretary of State said it had complied with Riverside’s request and sent the information through the mail.
The postal service, said Scalera, could not determine what exactly had happened to the envelope once they received it.
Police Chief Thomas Weitzel, who was one of the many employees whose information was missing from the packet, said that the postal service has not classified the incident as a theft.
“Right now our investigation is documenting what’s taken place,” said Weitzel. “The post office doesn’t consider it stolen.”
Riverside has been requesting employee driving-record information from the Secretary of State annually for many years, said Weitzel.