BUFFALO, NY - A viewer contacted 2 On Your Side to report his concerns about the personal information on others he's been getting delivered...to his living room.
It provides an example of how private information can be shared with others inadvertently or due to sloppiness when it comes to safeguarding it.
It is also a story about the frustration of a person who says he has just been trying to do the right thing to no avail.
Retired steel worker Ron Lorek started getting numerous calls to his Cheektowaga home a couple of years ago, where on the other end of the line, instead of a person's voice, he'd hear a fax machine.
He contacted his phone provider to no avail, so he got the idea to buy his own fax machine, hook it up, and see if he would start receiving faxes to get at the root of the calls.
What he received surprised him.
Medical records...with patients social security numbers, ages, addresses, telephone numbers, and private medical information.
He's contacted some of the people whose information he had, to inform them. He has also tried to alert the senders of the sensitive information...who he says did not seem to care.
"They didn't even get back to me to tell me that they wanted it, or I should destroy it. That is what's so frustrating. If I were an identity thief, I'd have all the information I needed to ruin someone's life," Lorek told WGRZ-TV.
Lorek also says he called People Inc. a local human services provider, who employed those whose information he had, and which had been the apparent intended recipients of the faxes, some from area medical providers who those employees used.
He claims he was bounced from person to person; and conceded the last one he spoke with frustrated him.
"She was trying to argue with me that it's their fax number and I've had it for 28 years," he said.
Two On Your Side paid a visit to People Inc.'s headquarters in Williamsville. There we were able to confirm the fax number of the company's human resources department, is only one digit different from Lorek's home number. The disparate digits are also right next to each other on a telephone or fax machine touch pad.
Director of Human Resources Trisha Duke also agreed to meet with Lorek, who then delivered the records he possessed directly to her.
Duke told us the company is investigating how the mistake could have been happening for as long as Lorek claims. It is also contacting those who sent the faxes to his number.
Duke also says the company has decided to take an additional step, by changing the fax number for its human resources department, in an effort to reduce the chances of Lorek receiving anymore-inadvertent documents.
In the meantime, she's asked him for the make and model number of his fax machine, so that they may buy him some ink cartridges...or even replace the machine, if it's been worn out.