NewsLocal News


Beware of accidentally donating your identity during fall cleaning

Posted at 8:00 AM, Sep 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-05 09:01:34-04

MILWAUKEE -- A word of caution before you drop off your next donation. If you don't double check, you could also be giving away your sensitive information. This includes old driver's licenses and even birth certificates.

The manager of St. Vincent de Paul thrift store tells us he's seen it all. Workers there are used to people calling in a panic, hoping to get an item back.

"This is just a small sample of what we usually get in, we have more watches," said Brett Peach, Vincent de Paul Thrift Store, showing us a pile of items that may have been donated accidentally in the past week.

It takes a ton of dedication for workers to make sure those accidental donations, including sensitive documents don't get into the wrong hands.

"You'll find birth certificates, you'll see pictures, you'll see all different kinds of things," explained Peach.

The manager of St. Vincent de Paul's Thrift Store's advice is simple:

"Go through what you're sending us. If we don't get any phone calls we don't know about it its kind of hard to trace it back," said Peach.

Peach says if you accidentally donate something like a diamond, there is no need to worry. They will keep it for several months. If it goes unclaimed, the non-profit sells it to feed the hungry.

With your generosity, St. Vincent de Paul Society of Milwaukee provided:

  • 4,747 home visits to your neighbors in need by SVDP volunteers.
  • 44,591 people were served during the home visit with basic necessities of food, clothing, furniture and new beds.
  • 89,215 meals were served at their two meal sites. 33,577 of those meals were served to children.
  • 2,101 new beds were given to people in need.
  • $1,641,610 of goods and services were given to people in need throughout Milwaukee County.

TODAY'S TMJ4 also reached out to Goodwill to find out their practices. A spokesperson replied to us with this statement:

Items such as drivers licenses and credit cards are placed in a safe with a note on where and when the item was found. We do try and locate the donor, however, if we are unable to do so, the store manager shreds the items after 30 days. We take this responsibility seriously and complete quarterly audits on this process to ensure it is being followed at all 68 Goodwill Store and Donation Centers.