City of Janesville mistakenly releases Social Security numbers of 758 companies

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Frank Schultz
Tuesday, April 1, 2014

JANESVILLE—The city of Janesville recently discovered that it had released Social Security numbers for 758 companies that do business with the city, according to a city press release.

The information was released to Smart Procure, a company that specializes in gathering purchasing data from local, state and federal agencies. Businesses use the purchasing data to seek new customers for their goods and services and help them bid for government contracts, according to the press release.

The information was released Jan. 2. Only three employees of Smart Procure had access to the numbers, according to the press release.

“Upon discovering the error, the city demanded that Smart Procure destroy all the personally identifiable information provided by the city. An investigation of the company's practices revealed that information (including vendor name, address and purchase order information) for 15 of the vendors was posted to the company's website. The website did not publish any social security numbers,” the news release reads.

“The city does not foresee any adverse effects occurring to any of the 758 vendors as a result of the inadvertent release of information. However, in an effort to provide peace of mind to those vendors whose information was released, the city is offering identity theft protection service through LifeLock free of charge for one year to any vendor electing to participate," the press release reads.

The city has set up a hot line to handle questions or concerns, 608-373-6000.

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