Company that dumped private records in public trash is fined

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A national company will pay nearly $500,000 in fines for improperly disposing of documents that contained personal information of clients, the Kansas Attorney General’s Office said.

Attorney General Derek Schmidt sued SearchTec, which has a satellite office in Kansas, in 2017. He alleged the company did not shred or remove personal information, such as Social Security numbers or credit card numbers, before disposing of the records.

SearchTec manages business documents and typically performs searches for law firms, service companies and lenders.

The documents were found in public trash bins around Topeka, according to the lawsuit.

The Kansas Consumer Protection Act requires businesses to protect personal information they collect.

The lawsuit was settled last week. The settlement also required SearchTec to improve its business practices and employee training, Schmidt said in a news release.