Valley woman receives someone else's personal info in the mail

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PHOENIX -- A Valley woman says she has someone else's personal information and you won't believe who gave it to her.

How many times have we heard don't give out personal information?

You just can't do that these days or someone will run up a credit card in your name or do something crazy using your identity.

With that said, a Valley woman says she wound up with someone's very personal info, sent to her by the government.

"I showed my husband and said, 'Oh my gosh! We shouldn't have this!" Robin Stanewich said.

Stanewich was expecting some paperwork from the Social Security Administration, but when she opened up the envelope that arrived from the agency, she was shocked at what she saw.

"I opened it up and it had a certified copy of someone else's birth certificate and a W-2 form from 2007," she said.

That's right, Stanewich had someone else's personal information -- really personal.

"You could do a lot of things with that because I have mother's maiden name, I have a Social Security number, I had addresses, I have a lot of information that I shouldn't have," Stanewich said.

Besides having someone else's personal information, Stanewich had a bigger concern

"I'm worried about where my information is," she said. "Her information is safe, I'm going to send it back to her, but where is mine? And who has my information and what of mine do they have?"

But when Stanewich tried telling Social Security about the problem, she says she felt like she was getting nowhere.

"I was on the phone for like an hour and you can't even get through, it's an automated phone call and I couldn't get through," Stanewich said. "They told me that I needed to come down and wait for two and a half hours so that's when I called you guys."

3 On Your Side contacted the Social Security Administration. I mean, why would someone else's information be mailed to Stanewich and why would she have to wait two hours to return the sensitive information.

The agency immediately started an internal investigation, which was a huge relief, but she wonders how often something like this happens.

"What if I'd got a credit card with it or bought a house with it or something?" Stanewich said. "I could've done terrible things with it!"

She could have, but she didn't. Instead she contacted that person and forwarded the documents to them.

As for the Social Security Administration, they say this was an isolated incident where an employee accidentally addressed someone's information to Stanewich.

They say they take the matter very seriously and they're glad we brought it to their attention.