Shredding for Identity Theft Protection
To Shred Or Not to Shred…
Old records may seem harmless enough; for example, closed credit cards and bank accounts. But an ambitious identity thief can use the bits and pieces of this old information to assemble a profile of your current identity. If you are unsure that a document needs to be shredded—shred it!
Shred This Top 20
- Obsolete financial records, including loan
- Pre-approved credit card applications
- Personal medical records or physician statements
- Correspondence and tax preparation worksheets
- Receipts for purchases
- Bank statements
- ATM receipts
- Credit card statements
- Cancelled checks
- Mail and old records
- Untidy bills
- Credit Card Charges
- Insurance forms
- Investment transactions
- Expired credit cards
- Mailing labels from magazines
- Pay stubs
- Old driver’s licenses or passports
- Expired insurance membership cards
- Any documents that contain social security number, birth dates, your mother’s maiden name and any account numbers or online passwords.
ID Theft Target: A peak season for ID thieves is tax time. Old tax records and other expired documents are being discarded. Know what shredder you need to securely destroy these documents.
Shredding Best Practices
A proactive approach is vital in office identity security, particularly when it comes to paper documents, which can easily be overlooked when you’re focusing on digital security measures. Paper applications filled out by employees, e-mail attachments that have been printed out, and even handwritten notes about your competition all require protection.
- Use Small Office/Home Office or Commercial Cross-Cut shredder, depending on the size of your office, for optimum shredding performance.
- Position shredders near copiers/printers for quick and easy shredding of documents that might be left out on the paper tray.
- Maintain strict requirements for shredding all customer printed materials the moment they are no longer needed. Printed customer documentation should be shredded regardless of the nature of the content. This prevents time wasted reviewing documents for personal information or personal content being overlooked.
- Shred all printed employee documentation once it is no longer needed. The same rules for customers, applies to employees. Diligent shredding prevents any personal information about employees from being misplaced.
- Shred all printed materials that might relate to your company’s strategies or practices. Once marketing, sales or financial data is no longer needed it should be shredded to prevent it from ending up in the hands of the competition.
- Make employees aware of shredding practices and how the shredders are used so they will feel comfortable using them.
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act or FACTA requires all businesses to follow simple guidelines for protecting and disposing of sensitive data collected from customers. To adhere to FACTA rules you must maintain a written policy for document shredding that is presented to employees. Train your employees in the proper disposal of documents containing sensitive information so they understand the importance of the policy. Make sure you have the best shredders and enough paper shredders to accommodate the amount of documents that need to be destroyed on a regular basis at the workplace, and that the documents are being thoroughly shredded.