Madigan alleges company too loose with info

By Keith Loria | Oct 18, 2010


CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced on Friday that she has filed a lawsuit against a payday loan company that allegedly failed to safeguard customer data.

The Payday Loan Store of Illinois allegedly discarded documents containing customers' personal information into trash bins outside four store locations despite promising to safeguard the information.

"Data security is absolutely critical to protecting consumers from identity theft," Madigan said.

"Businesses that collect, use and ultimately dispose of sensitive personal information must live up to their promises to protect that information from unauthorized access in order to protect the financial privacy of consumers."

PLS offers its customers a privacy policy that promises that the company will protect their customers' personal information by maintaining physical, electronic and procedural safeguards in compliance with federal regulations.

The complaint alleges that a concerned individual alerted the Bolingbrook police that he had discovered some sensitive documents in a trash container behind the PLS location in Bolingbrook.

The police found and retrieved approximately two boxes of documents containing information such as Social Security numbers, driver's license numbers, financial account numbers and PLS loan account numbers, Madigan says.

"Even in the Internet age, identity thieves continue to steal personal information using relatively low-tech methods, including 'Dumpster diving,'" Madigan said.

"It's fortunate that these particular documents ended up with the police instead of in the hands of identity thieves, who could have used the information to wreak havoc on consumers' financial lives."

Madigan is seeking a court order to permanently bar the company from engaging in deceptive and unfair acts and practices.

She also wants the defendant pay a civil penalty of $50,000 for each violation of the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, and another $50,000 for each violation committed with the intent to defraud.

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