Technical issue exposes 100s of Providence retirees’ social security numbers to strangers

City hall technical issue mistakenly allows release of hundreds of SS number.

PROVIDENCE, RI (WPRI) — A printing technical issue caused hundreds of retired Providence city employees’ social security numbers to be mistakenly mailed to unrelated retirees, the Target 12 Investigators have learned.

Providence City Communications Director Emily Crowell said the problem impacted 1095-C forms mailed to city employees who retired before the age of 65.

“This technical issue affected 353 pre-65 retirees,” Crowell said. “The issue caused a limited number of retirees to be listed as beneficiaries on the forms of another unrelated retiree.”

John Simoneau’s 1095-C included some extra info.

Retired police officer John Simoneau was shocked when he saw a stranger’s name and social security number under his name on the 1095-C he received last week.

“I am very angry, and very concerned,” Simoneau said. “At a time when identity theft is so prevalent, there is no excuse for this.”

Simoneau said he was told his name and social security were not erroneously included on anyone else’s form, but he questioned the cost to taxpayers for the additional printing and mailings.

Crowell said corrected forms and a letter of explanation will be going out to the retirees who “out of an abundance of caution” will be given the opportunity to enroll in free credit monitoring for 24 months.

According to Crowell, the credit monitoring cost is $4.75 a month per person, which could add up to more than $40,000 for the city.

Target 12 reached out to the woman whose name and social were on Simoneau’s form. A man who identified himself as her husband and a retired Providence police officer said he was surprised by the mix-up and was looking forward to receiving the “letter of explanation” from the city.

Retiree Peter Costello said after he he received a form with an additional name and social security number on it he called the Providence Human Resources office and was told he would get a call back at a later time.

“Three days, no return call,” Costello said. “The person who answered [the first time] struggled to provide an answer.”

Crowell said city hall has received about 15 calls about the mistake since it surfaced last week.

Send tips to Target 12 Investigator Walt Buteau at wbuteau@wpri.com and follow him on Twitter @wbuteau