BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - A copy machine may seem harmless, but it's actually a potentialjackpot for identity thieves. A CBS News investigation uncoveredstunning, confidential information on an old machine in New Jerseyfrom the Buffalo Police Department.
Did you know that almost every digital copier made since 2002has a hard drive that stores thousands of images and unless youscrub the hard drive they all remain? So your old copier could endup being resold through a warehouse like this in New Jersey, whereCBS News investigators bought four used copiers and two of themhappened to be old Buffalo Police copiers.
John Johnson of Digital Copier Security said, "We got somedocuments here in the glass. This machine came from the city ofBuffalo Police Sex Crimes Division. This machine has 249,000copies, has 42,000 prints on it, and it's also used as a faxmachine."
A half hour later, the hard drive was removed, then using aforensic software program available free on the internet, tens ofthousands of documents were downloaded including detailed domesticviolence complaints, and a list of wanted Buffalo sex offenders. Ona second machine from the Buffalo Police Narcotics Unit, CBS Newsfound a list of targets from the Operation Impact Drug raid threeyears ago.
Common Council President David Franczyk said, "City of Buffalodoesn't want to be on national news for something like that, and Iguess my question is, did Toshiba make the City of Buffalo awarethat those hard drives were there?"
Apparently not, according to this letter from City attorneyDiane O'Gorman thanking CBS for bringing it to the City'sattention, and politely demanding that CBS return the two harddrives to the city within five business days. O'Gorman says the LawDepartment was unaware that confidential information was retainedon copiers they leased from Toshiba.
In addition to the two Buffalo copiers, CBS bought two others,one used by a construction company which still had a list ofemployees names and social security numbers, the other had beenused by a New York Insurance company which had people's medicalrecords and prescription information on the hard drive.
So how far can this information travel? The same day that CBSwas there, that New Jersey warehouse was sending out two largeshipments of used copiers to Argentina and Singapore.
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