Banana Republic's Mistaken Delivery Gives Customer Employees' Social Security Numbers

A woman in Massachussetts got confidential employee documents instead of a tie.

June 21, 2013 — -- Emily Dreyfuss only wanted a tie and pocket square that she ordered online from Banana Republic for her fiance.

But when Dreyfuss, 29, received a package on Thursday from Banana Republic, owned by Gap Inc., she was surprised to find documents that contained confidential employee information.

Dreyfuss, of Cambridge, Mass., had ordered the apparel items for her fiance to wear at their wedding in two weeks. At first, they thought the delivery was humorous.

But then they realized the detailed, confidential information in the paperwork, such as Social Security numbers and birth dates on W-4 forms, could have been a serious breach in privacy and security.

Thieves can potentially steal one's identity with a name, Social Security number, birth date and address, or with fewer pieces of personal information.

Identity theft has topped the Federal Trade Commission's list of top 30 consumer complaints for the 13th year in a row.

"It stopped being funny and it was actually alarming," said Dreyfuss, an editor with CNET.

An official with Gap Inc., based in San Francisco, told ABC News in a written statement that a package "was accidentally mislabeled and information intended for headquarters was mailed to a customer instead."

"We take the confidentiality of personal information very seriously and we strive to deliver a perfect customer experience, every time," wrote the official, Edie Kissko. "Regrettably, human mistakes happen and this was one of them. We're taking immediate action to evaluate and strengthen our processes to prevent mis-mailings in the future and apologize for the error."

After Dreyfuss opened the package Thursday night, she said she immediately tweeted to Gap's various Twitter accounts, after having previous success getting in touch with brands through the social media site.

A company representative responded to her over Twitter Friday morning and they spoke over the phone about the mix-up.

"They're being really gracious about it and they seem mortified that it happened," she said.

The company told her it would send a messenger to pick up the documents, she added.

While the incident shocked Dreyfuss, she said, "I empathize with their error," after making a similar mistake years ago.

As a personal assistant, she accidentally mailed a $40,000 check to Automotive News Magazine and sent an article about a Porsche Roadster to a bank.

"That my boss did not immediately fire me is both a miracle and also probably a terrible error on his part," Dreyfuss wrote on her Tumblr page. "At that age, I wasn't cut out for the responsibility of having his financial life in my hands."

While Dreyfuss waits for Banana Republic to pick up the confidential papers, she and her fiance are also waiting for the tie and pocket square for their wedding, which takes place in two weeks.

No word from Banana Republic yet if it will send a messenger with those items.