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[Full-disclosure] H&R Block Tax Service sends mail with SSN on the label.
From: Troy Solo (solodok.org)
Date: Sun Jan 01 2006 - 11:55:08 CST
My wife received this snail mail letter yesterday:
"Recently we mailed you a free copy of our TaxCut software. We believe
that this complimentary software will meet your 2006 tax preparation
needs, based on our prior experience with you as an H&R Block client.
We hope that you will try TaxCut and find it to be a great solution for
filing your next tax return.
However, since we sent you this CD, we have become aware of a mail
production situation that has affected a small percentage of recipients,
including you. Due to human error in developing the mailing list, the
digits of your social security number (SSN) were used as part of your
mailing label's source code, a string of more than 40 numbers and
characters. Fortunately, these digits were embedded in the middle of
the string, and they were not formatted in any manner that would
identify them as an SSN.
Nevertheless, we sincerely apologize for this inadvertent error, which
is completely inconsistent with out strict policies to protect out
clients' privacy. Our internal policies limit the use of client SSNs
for purposes other than tax preparation. Furthermore, our internal
procedures require that mailing source codes are formulated in a manner
that excludes use of any sensitive or confidential information. Please
know that we have conducted a thorough internal review of this matter,
and are taking actions to ensure this does not re-occur.
Again, please understand that the digits of your SSN were embedded in
the middle of a lengthy source code, and they were not formatted in a
manner that identifies them as an SSN. As a result, we believe that
exposure of your SSN digits was limited to you alone, since you are the
only person who would recognize their significance. Nonetheless, we
suggest that you destroy the wrapper and mailing label of the free
TaxCut CD we sent you. If you would like more information about this
incident, please visit www.taxcut.com/answers, a special Website that
contains additional details and an e-mail link for contacting us with
On behalf of more than 100,000 associates of H&R Block, allow me to
apologize for this unfortunate situation. Through 50 tax seasons, H&R
Block has earned a reputation as a valued, trustworthy ally to our
clients, and we sincerely hope that you will find the free TaxCut CD and
our information packed taxcut.com Website to be helpful tools for the
2006 tax filing season.
Senior Vice President & General Manager
H&R Block Digital Tax Solutions
4400 Main Street Kansas City, MO 64111
The part about "the exposure of the SSN was limited to you alone because
you are the only person who would recognize your number" kills me.
/* Troy Solo
/* Si Hoc Legere Scis Nimium Eruditionis Habes
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