L.A. County’s Social Services Department Fails to Shred

Tens of thousands of LA county documents containing confidential information about local residents were sent to a recycler who shipped them overseas without shredding them, leaving the residents vulnerable to identity theft and fraud, an aide to county Supervisor Don Knabe said Wednesday.

The documents from the Department of Public Social Services range from photocopies of pay stubs and utility bills to employee disciplinary and medical records, and include names, addresses, Social Security numbers, prescription information, credit histories and more, said Knabe aide David Sommers.

A spokeswoman for DPSS Director Bryce Yokomizo said she was not aware that intact documents were sent overseas, but acknowledged that confidential documents are sent intact to a local recycling company to be destroyed.

The department now plans to enact a shredding-only policy “effective almost immediately,” possibly in-house, said spokeswoman Shirley Christensen.