County Clerk's Office tossing personal, sensitive customer information in the trash

May 25, 2018 01:18 PM


Following this News10NBC exclusive report, Majority Leader Brian Marianetti and Monroe County Legislators will request the Office of Public Integrity to investigate the County Clerk's handling of documents containing sensitive information at local DMV branches. 

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Marianetti will make the announcement Friday at 10 a.m. 


Personal, sensitive information is getting tossed away with the trash at the DMV. When thieves are constantly trying to get your personal information we wanted to know, how can it just end up in the DMV garbage? 

News10NBC asked the official who oversees the offices in our exclusive investigation.  

Scroll down to watch News10NBC Investigation Reporter Berkeley Brean dig through DMV dumpsters to find documents with protected and sensitive information. 

The DMV is a function of the Monroe County Clerk's office and the Clerk is the only person with whom we showed the information.

News10NBC learned about this situation after man got into a conflict at the DMV because they insisted that he write his social security number down to renew his license. 

"I came here on the third of this month," Dave Mottshaw said.  

Mottshaw says he refuses to give his social security number out because his identity has been stolen before. When he was at the DMV in Henrietta he says he saw employees throw documents in the garbage. 

So after hours, he came back and went through the dumpster behind the building.  

On Thursday, he showed News10NBC the garbage he collected. The papers included renewal applications with names, addresses and social security numbers which we blacked out, the Homeland Security and Visa information of an exchange student at UofR, boat registration stickers and stacks of 10 day car inspection tags. 

"I found police information," Mottshaw said.

That's right. Included in the papers Mottshaw found were documents that include the make, model and license plate numbers of three undercover cars for the Monroe County Sheriff's Office. 

With a sample of the documents Mottshaw found, News10NBC went to Monroe County Clerk Adam Bello. 

Brean: "How do you explain documents with this kind of information in the dumpster behind the building?"

Bello: "I'm going to tell you this right now, that's completely unacceptable that that would be back there and obviously we take the security of people's personal and private information very seriously here. This does not make me happy at all that this would have been back there. So this is something that we're going to address immediately."

Brean: "What is the policy dealing with documents like this?" 

Bello: "These documents should not be thrown out in regular garbage like that. The policy is that they're destroyed or sent to New York State depending on what the circumstance is. They should not by any means be thrown into a garbage like that. This is something that we'll be on." 

Brean: "How do you think it happened?" 

Bello: "I don't know but I'm going to investigate that right now."

Thursday afternoon, News10NBC went to check the DMV's dumpsters. The dumpster in Henrietta was empty. So were the dumpsters near the DMV office at the Mall at Greece Ridge. 

But then News10NBC went to the DMV's garbage in Irondequoit and opened the dumpster door. 

"So we got all kinds of plastic bags in here," Investigative Reporter Berkeley Brean said when he looked inside. 

Brean found one bag full of paperwork and the first document he pulled out contained sensitive, personal, protected information. 

Brean adds, "Here's one right here. So here's a license renewal and a social security number on it right there." 

One of the documents found in the DMV's garbage in Henrietta included the social security number of Kevin Travers. We found him and showed him a copy today. He says he went to the DMV simply to change his address. 

"And now I find out it's just in the friggin' dumpster behind the DMV for anybody to find," Travers said. "I'm on TV so I can't say what I'd like to say to (the DMV) but just, you know, the politest way is get your stuff together." 

Travers says a staffer threw that document out for him.

The Monroe County Clerk's office believes most of the documents we found were thrown out by customers and therefore, got put into the trash.

Because of our story, the DMV offices will have specific boxes for customers to throw out documents and keep them separate from garbage. The Clerk's office told News10NBC that they are going to work with the county's contracted shredding service to destroy that paperwork. 


Berkeley Brean

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