A Chicago man recently bought three file cabinets at a Sears liquidation sale that were reportedly filled with confidential employee information, according to NBC Chicago.
Hersey Mallory told the local news station that it wasn't until after he purchased the cabinets that he realized they contained hundreds of employee files that included everything from photos, birth certificates and Social Security numbers to termination papers and forms concerning accusations of theft.
Mallory alleges that Sears did not respond to his first eight or nine phone calls when he first tried to contact the retailer about returning the files. Ultimately, Mallory claims, a Sears' representative told him to dump the files outside on a loading dock at a Sears store in Chicago.
Howard Riefs, the director of corporate communication for Sears, wrote in an email to The Huffington Post that the company has since retrieved the files from Mallory. Sears is investigating the issue further to better understand how it happened, he added.
Mallory's discovery is alarming because it is fairly simple for a thief to use personal information like your Social Security number to steal your identity and open a credit card in your name.
While there are laws that protect the personal information of federal employees, there are very few regulations for private employers regarding how they handle their workers' records and personal information, according to lawyers.com.
Unfortunately, Sears is not the only retailer to recently make their employees vulnerable by accidentally sharing their personal information. In June, Banana Republic sent a woman and her then-fiancé the Social Security numbers, tax forms, resignation letters, legal notices, doctors' notes and performance reviews of multiple employees in lieu of a tie they ordered from the store.