make WWAY your homepage  Become a fan on facebook  Follow us on twitter  Receive RSS Newsfeeds  MEMBERS: Register | Login

FIRST ON 3: Social Security snafu will cost New Hanover County $10,000

READ MORE: FIRST ON 3: Social Security snafu will cost New Hanover County $10,000

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) - Ramon talked with county commission chairman Jason Thompson about this story this morning, and Thompson told Ramon it will cost the county around $10,000 to provide credit monitoring to the people affected by the mistake.

He also asked Thompson, "What would you say to those who think the county has made a lot of mistakes lately?" Thompson glibly replied, "Fire me."

Here's the back-story....

WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) - Officials say New Hanover County mistakenly put the Social Security numbers of dozens of people on a county website.

Numbers were published in two lists of property owners behind on their taxes.

County Manager Bruce Shell says the lists contained nearly 10,000 accounts, but only 163 Social Security numbers were published. It's unclear how many people were affected because some numbers are linked to more than one account.

Shell says the county is sending letters to affected property owners and employees are calling those whose information was published.

Shell says the county will provide credit monitoring for a year to help prevent fraud.


Date: November 9, 2010

To: Area Media

From: Dennis J. Ihnat, Human Resources and Community Relations Director

Telephone: 910-798-77178

Fax: 910-798-7494

Re: Posting of Delinquent Tax Accounts

In October, New Hanover County for the first time posted delinquent tax accounts on the County Tax Department’s web page. There were 9,854 delinquent accounts posted, of which 163 inadvertently included social security numbers.

When this problem was identified earlier today, the County immediately removed the posting from the web page and reviewed the listing to determine the extent of the problem.

Representatives of the New Hanover County Tax Department are in the process of contacting all 163 accounts by phone and letter to advise them of this situation, and will provide them with free fraud monitoring service.

Dennis J. Ihnat

Human Resources and Community Relations Director

New Hanover County, NC


follow us on twitter


Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


NOBODY has any business with

NOBODY has any business with your SS number....period. It was NEVER meant to become personal identification. However, since everyone has (or is supposed to have) a different number, many government agencies have forced citizens to use their SSN for id purposes. If anyone has their identity stolen, whoever published these people's SSNs should have to pay for all expenses to correct the problem.

If it were only that easy to fire you Thompson... would have been done long ago, but we have to wait to vote you out of office. Not as easy as it would be for you or Shell to fire one of the many clowns in your circus who have made such bonehead mistakes. You have shown nothing but contempt and arrogance to the citizens of this county with your wise a** comments.


the Federal Government SHOULD be held directly responsible...THEY are the ones that FORCED a SS number to all of us..PROMISING it would only be used for SS purposes....another LIE...


Idiot! I think he meant "Impeach Me".....and what a terrific idea!
However, as an up to date on my property taxes citizen of New Hanover County (in other words one of the people you work FOR), I will gladly say it... YOU'RE FIRED! Now, let's impeach him for good measure! How arrogant this man is!

ss# incompetence

The responsible party should be FIRED! I work in the financial services industry (NOT A STATE OR FEDERAL EMPLOYEE) and that is what would have happened to me. NO EXCUSES!

I also agree that publishing someone's name in an attempt to shame them is a disgrace in these current economic times. If this was 2003-2006, then I would have had no problem as most everyone was employed and enjoyed the extra fruits of their labor. But during this depression, I recognize many of those names, and I know that those folks are doing the best that they can. They would pay if the funds were available to pay. I also would venture to say that none of the names are government employees.


There is NO excuse for this incompetence !! We take a lot of time to protect our ss#'s, bank acct#'s and personal info from dishonest people. The tax offices etc require our personal info and they have the DUTY to protect it !! If I was one of the people effected by this I would be outraged.

Time to fire the incompetent employees.

How about this.... Fire the

How about this.... Fire the County Manager and use half his salary to protect the credit of the folks that HIS office failed by posting their social security numbers...

Do any of these "bureaucrats" really care about the people they are paid to serve? Call me harsh, but until heads start to roll, there will be no change.

Social Security Snafu/Tax Office

The fact remains, this blunder costs the citizens of New Hanover County $10,000.00. Obviously, this came out of the tax collections department and whoever is in charge of collections let this happen under their watch. They should be fired. There are too many QUALIFIED people wanting and needing jobs so it this position should not be put in the hands of someone with such little training for this job that these types of mistakes are made. I really think the person in charge of the tax collection department should be made known to the public and he/she should be replaced as soon as possible. Such incompetency has no place in the workforce of New Hanover County. We don't need employees costing us money we don't have.

Inaccurate. Cost is WAY higher to citizens

The total cvost is much, much higher than that when you figure in the time which will be spent by employees of the county for PR, incident management, legal, etc.. If you break it out to a "retail" cost, you are looking at a few thousand per Social Security #.

And I quote from eweek:
Researchers at Datamonitor can give corporations 1.8 million reasons to protect themselves against data breaches.

According to the research groups new report, "Datagate: The Next Inevitable Corporate Disaster?", the average cost of a data leak incident is $1.82 million. That figure is based on accounts of 23 percent of respondents—the others were unable to track and audit losses after a breach.

The report surveyed 1,400 IT decision makers across the globe. All totaled, 60 percent of those surveyed said they experienced a data leak last year, and only six percent could state with certainty that they had no data leakage problems in the past two years.

KJust google Actual cost of data leak and you will job your jaw...
The minimum figure out there which was published is still a quarter of a million dollars....

Tell them what they won Johnny!!!

A free subscription to credit monitoring a year..woohoo..yeah right..what happens if someone actually does open up an account under these people you know how hard it is to get something taken off your credit report..Mr. Commissioner, you can do more than about stop publishing peoples financial troubles online..thats a start..


actually it is fairly easy to get something off your credit report....fact remains NHC screwed up BIG TIME...