Harlingen Resident Alarmed by How Man Obtained Personal Information
HARLINGEN – A Harlingen woman wants to know how a man, she’s never met, obtained her name and address then showed up at her door looking for work.
A quiet Sunday afternoon turned chaotic for Aida Leach. She said a stranger showed up at her home in Harlingen, telling her he was there to fix her car. It caught her off guard.
“I’ve never seen him before, and the first thing that really caught me is that he called me by my first name. That was to me, was like, you don’t know me, I don’t know you, how did you get my first name? How did you get my address? How did you know I was in an accident,” she said.
Leach said she was in an accident about a week prior. Her insurance company was taking care of the issue. Her vehicle is in the shop getting repaired.
She has no idea how the man got her information and arrived at her door.
“He was real calm, you know, but then I started thinking, this doesn’t sound right,” she said.
Leach took the man’s business card and closed the door.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS called the number listed on the card several times only to be greeted by a woman’s voicemail. We left a message but no call back.
Better Businesses Bureau spokesperson, Dolores Salinas, said it could’ve been a matter of an easy records search, accident reports are public information.
“Anyone can go to a local PD or the sheriff’s department and request copies of accident reports for a certain time frame. For example, if they want to know, if they want to get accident reports for the last month, they can just go into the PD’s or the sheriff’s office and request them and pay for them. If you are willing to pay for them, you can get a copy of them,” she said.
A spokesman for the Harlingen Police Department said although accident reports are public records, there hasn’t been any complaints filed regarding any similar situations.
He added if anyone is caught in this type of situation and feels threatened, they can file a police report.
Leach wants others to beware of strangers coming to their doors.
“Just caution at our age, we have to be more cautious. You know who we open the door to. Even though this is a very protective place, very well taken care of and your neighbors, everybody knows everybody, you still have to be cautious about who you open the door to,” she said.
The woman said it’s a lesson she won’t forget anytime soon.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS checked with State Representative Rene Oliveira about Leach’s situation. He said a statute regarding personal information was passed in the 90s.
It reads that all government records are public information, but some information can be restricted.
In Leach’s case, an auto body repair worker should not have been able to obtain her information unless it was sent from insurance.
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