DFCS snafu exposes clients' personal info

by: Amy Napier Viteri Updated:


DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - A paperwork error at the Division of Children and Family Services in DeKalb County exposed personal information for more than a dozen clients.

Vickey Fletcher told Channel 2's Amy Napier Viteri that since August, people have been calling her home phone every day as early as 7 a.m. trying to fax the personal information to renew their benefits.

"I have to wake up, to plug up my fax machine because they're going to keep on calling until the fax goes through," Fletcher said.

Social Security numbers, home addresses and other personal information intended for DFCS is coming to Fletcher's Stone Mountain home instead. The reason for the mix-up is a worksheet from DFCS listing requirements for people renewing benefits, such as food stamps and financial assistance. The form incorrectly listed Fletcher's home phone number as the office fax number.

Fletcher said her machine eventually ran out of ink, so she's not sure exactly how many people tried to send her their information. She told Viteri she went to the office in person, and called and spoke to supervisors on two occasions, but the problem continued.

"They're applying for assistance. How can they get assistance when their information is coming to me?" Fletcher said.

DFCS client Teresa Tye said she was shocked about the mix-up.

"My first thought, 'Wow really? Are you serious?'" Tye said.

The mother of three said she received a call from Fletcher and initially thought it was a joke.

"I'm glad she was a good person. It could have gotten into the wrong hands," Tye said.

Department of Human Services representative Ravae Graham sent Channel 2 Action News a statement saying the issue is being looked into and affected clients are being contacted.

“The department is currently conducting an internal review and is taking steps to ensure we are in compliance with all state and federal privacy regulations. We have determined that this incident is isolated to one form that had been used by one staff member. As such, a limited number of clients have been impacted,” Graham said.

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