ATLANTA (Reuters) - RadioShack Corp. was sued on Monday by the Texas Attorney General’s office, which charged that the electronics retailer exposed consumers to potential identity theft by dumping data such as addresses and credit-card numbers in a trash bin behind one of its stores.
The civil suit, filed in San Patricio County, Texas, accuses the company of violating the state’s 2005 Identity Theft Enforcement and Protection Act, which requires businesses to protect consumer records that contain sensitive information.
RadioShack, based in Fort Worth, Texas, did not return phone calls seeking comment.
According to the complaint, which was posted on the state attorney general’s Web site, “thousands” of records containing customer names, addresses, telephone numbers and other data were found in a trash can in an alley behind a RadioShack store located in Portland, Texas, in March 2007.
RadioShack “failed to safeguard the information by shredding, erasing or other means, to make it unreadable or undecipherable before disposing of its business records ...,” the complaint states.
The lawsuit seeks a permanent injunction, civil penalties and other relief. The Texas law allows the attorney general’s office to seek up to $50,000 per violation, the department said.
The suit marks the latest action that raises concerns about identity-theft risks in the retail sector.
Last week, retailer TJX Cos. Inc. said information from 45.7 million credit and debit cards was stolen in a computer security breach over 18 months through mid-January.
Other information, including names, addresses and personal ID numbers for about 451,000 people who returned merchandise without a receipt, was also stolen, the operator of the T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s chains said in a regulatory filing.
News of the lawsuit against RadioShack came before markets closed on Monday.
RadioShack shares, which have been rising over the past few months on an improved outlook for the company, gained 71 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $27.74 on the New York Stock Exchange.