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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Nashville Flood Victims Are Victims Again.

Some of Nashville’s flood victims who were applying for property tax relief had their personal information posted on a Metro website.Eva Wood is repairing her condo after it was flooded with 17 inches of water in May. Now she said she's worried that she’s a potential victim of identity theft.Wood filled out an application for a tax break using the website of the Metro Assessor of Property. The instructions said to attach documents showing how much she spent. She submitted a canceled check, thinking it would go to someone's desk."Lo and behold, all those documents I had uploaded, including my canceled check, were all posted publicly online. I was stunned they didn't think through limiting access to those documents," Wood said.The bank account number and the bank's routing number were available to the public at the click of a mouse.Property Assessor George Rooker said it was a mistake. The staff was trying to make it easier for people to enter information online, he said, and they removed the system's password protection."When I found out that information was exposed to the public, I wasn't real happy about that," Rooker said.Rooker said 68 flood victims accidentally had documents posted online. In three cases, the breach was serious, he said.Wood's canceled check was posted, as was someone’s Social Security number and another person's tax return.The password protection is back on, and the sensitive information has been moved to a different server, Rooker said."We believe we've fixed the problem, and we don't want to discourage anyone from applying for the flood relief they're entitled to," he said.Wood said she's glad the problem was remedied quickly but worries about the two months when her check was unprotected for anyone to see.The deadline to apply for property tax relief is Sept. 1.

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