FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) - A good Samaritan in the Shoals found medical records from a doctor's office out of state.
The man called WHNT News 19 to find out what to do because the files revealed the patient's identity.
The Florence man was collecting wooden pallets as part of his job when he noticed something else that caught his eye: inside some dumpsters around town, thousands of medical files from a doctor's office in Virginia.
After browsing through one of the records, one sheet clearly says "confidential" but somehow they ended up in Florence.
The man who found the records didn't want to go on camera, but he did want answers. WHNT News 19 went straight to the Florence Police Department with the pile.
“It’s concerning because there are phone numbers, birth dates, addresses, social security numbers in these files,” said Detective Jerry Pearson. “Anyone can use them to become that person and get credit cards, buy cars, get houses in that person`s name.”
According to investigators, identity theft can mess up a person's credit score and do damage to the person's credibility for years.
“It’s nice to know an honest person saw them and turned them over,” said Pearson.
However detectives say what that honest person found in a dumpster is like a gold mine to a criminal.
The unsuspecting patients from the clinic in Virginia, have no idea someone could have all their personal information states away.
Detectives say the information in these files can be very valuable to a person with a malicious motive in mind.
WHNT News 19 tried to contact the doctor listed on the records, but have been unsuccessful in tracking him down.