Properly Disposing of Confidential Documents

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Make this year, the year that you finally stick to your New Year’s Resolution and declutter. From your home to your office, chances are, you’ve held onto hundreds of old documents and files that you no longer have any use for. Whether it is old phone bills or an outdated credit card statement, properly disposing of old documents not only clears up space but also protects you from becoming a victim of fraud or identity theft.

The Numbers

Did you know that in 2013 Americans threw away approximately 254 million tons of garbage? Think about it. How much trash do you toss in the garbage on a daily basis without even thinking even about it? We simply crumple it up, rip it in half, or toss it, without care. Whether it’s an old receipt, a credit card bill, or an expired license, we often don’t take a second to think about the precautions of improperly disposing of these items.

This may not seem like a big deal, yet 88% of all data containing personal information that is collected by identity thieves was collected from the victim’s trash without them knowing! This is extremely unfortunate, yet so preventable. Don’t let yourself be a part of this large majority! Keep reading to learn more about the causes of identity theft and how to prevent it from happening to you.

What Can Happen If my Information Falls into the Wrong Hands?

In this day and age information is readily available at our fingertips. The main problem? We are just so busy. More and more individuals and businesses are becoming careless when it comes to handling sensitive data. From poorly managing a filing storage unit to improperly disposing of outdated or unwanted information, there are many ways that we dispose of this data that could be used against us. You may not realize this, but the longer you hold onto old documents containing sensitive data, the more you put yourself at risk of identity theft, fraud, financial loss, data breaches, and reputation damage. Remember, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Whether intentional or unintentional, leaked confidential information can be a goldmine for criminals to access bank accounts, expose company secrets, or steal identities.

Dumpster Diving

Despite all the technological advances available to identity thieves, dumpster diving still remains a popular method for stealing large amounts of personal information. Dumpster diving is a technique used to retrieve sensitive information with the intent of an attack. This method is increasingly being used by criminals with the hopes that they find pieces of data that can be easily reconstructed for selfish purposes.

How Can I Shield Myself from Becoming a Victim of Criminal Activity?

Regardless of if you are a business or an individual, identity theft and financial losses are a serious thing. It is important that you ensure secure disposal of paper waste, have the proper organization of stored data and records and have a process in order to properly destroy outdated data in a timely fashion. While all that may seem easy, be sure to follow these tips on how to ensure that you are properly disposing of confidential documents:

  • Never discard files and documents containing important information, such as driver’s license numbers, social security numbers, passwords, signatures, and banking information, by simply throwing it in the trash.
  • Do not hoard bills. At least once a month, collect all paid bills and dispose of them in a responsible, timely manner.
  • Always shred and destroy important documents as opposed to crumpling them up and throwing them out.
  • Cut up old credit cards, debit cards, and IDs into pieces until the information on them is no longer legible.
  • Do not leave pay stubs, hard drives, insurance and medical records, bank statements, and credit card statements lying around in plain sight. Whether someone comes across your desk in a work environment or breaks into your home, leaving these articles in plain sight is an open door for criminals to steal your personal information.

Why Shred?

Want to limit your chance of becoming a victim of identity theft? Shredding is an alternative way to keep your personal information from falling into the wrong hands. With all the rising emphasis on digital security, it’s easy to forget the fact that physical documents can also be a potential source of identity theft and fraud. Shredding helps you:

  • Prevent the chances of identity theft, fraud, embarrassing publicity, litigation, and security breaches
  • Protect your customers
  • Protect your employees
  • Save space

Why hold onto to unnecessary and outdated files? Why not throw them out? Head over to South Bay Document Destruction, your document destruction experts in the South Bay, California area. At SBDD, we put our people and their privacy first.

Start your spring cleaning early and contact South Bay Document Destruction today. Whether you are looking for a place for record storage, scanning, document destruction, product destruction, or hard drive shredding, SBDD is your one-stop shop for all of your data destruction needs! Contact us today at 310-217-9985 to discuss your destruction needs so that your products and documents no longer remain vulnerable and put you at risk.

 

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