Fort Worth

Liberty Income Tax Investigates After Boxes of Tax Forms End Up in Dumpster

Tax season is barely upon us and it's already bringing bad news for countless North Texans.

Many are finding out their tax forms from previous years were tossed out and discovered in a dumpster in another city.

The Liberty Income Tax office at 3401 Altamesa Boulevard in Fort Worth is scrambling to figure out what went wrong.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the company tells NBC 5 they still do not know what happened.

The tax preparation business has launched an investigation.

Jaqueline Holbert said she can't help but feel vulnerable and very exposed.

"It's just like I'm just out there," she said. "If anyone wanted to do anything to me they would have had me."

She sat in her Fort Worth home flipping through sheets of paper with sensitive information like her social security number and her family's bank information.

"This is my son's stuff too," she said, holding up a second packet containing the same tax forms.

Both of the packets were discovered inside a dumpster in Mansfield by a man who said he was cleaning a building Sunday.

Terry Turner said he found the files while working as a cleaning man at the industrial park.

"I found all these drivers licenses, social security cards," said Terry Turner of Haltom City.

"I figured I'd just call a couple of the people I found their number," he said.

He said he then called several people, including Holbert.

"I said, 'I know everything about you. I know more about you than you know about yourself probably,'" he said.

"I get that phone call last night and I was freaking out," she said. "He said, 'I found your tax information,' he said, 'in a dumpster.'"

Turner went on to say he found other people's forms as well.

"He said, 'There's a whole bunch of them,' and he read off my information," Holbert said. "He told me what I looked like. He was looking at my ID."

Turner shared pictures with NBC 5 he said he took of boxes full of what appeared to be tax forms that had been tossed into the dumpster intact, without being shredded.

Turner told NBC 5 he also found keys and uniforms belonging to employees.

"They're supposed to keep our information safe," Holbert said.

Holbert even found one form where Liberty Income Tax said it would maintain her information.

The corporate office told NBC 5 they were aware of the breach at the Fort Worth location.

Liberty Income Tax said they found the dumpster and recovered people's tax forms, but would not say how many people were affected.

Jett Melton, who works in the industrial park, said his wife saw the boxes on Saturday morning.

"It had to have happened between Friday at lunch and lunchtime Saturday," he said. "I think a lot of it was taken. What Liberty Tax got their hands on wasn't a drop in the bucket compared to what was in there."

Holbert said she's used the same company for the past three years and now worries if those forms were tossed out too.

She added that her family had suffered identity theft before and worries they'll become victims once again.

"I haven't even thought past hoping nothing else happens," she said.

Turner said he wanted to help others avoid becoming victims of identity theft, adding someone stole his identity years ago.

"Just doing what's right," he said. "Right is right. If someone found mine I wish they'd done mine that way."

A spokesman for Liberty Income Tax said it was reaching out to affected customers and offering identity theft protection at no cost.

On Tuesday, Liberty Tax Service corporate office told NBC 5 they still do not know how the files ended up in the dumpster. A spokesman for the company confirms there was no break-in at the Fort Worth office, but would not say whether they believe an employee took the files.

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