Identity Theft: It Could Happen to You
Reduce your exposure to identity theft with onsite document shredding services.
If you think identity theft only happens to other people, then you would be wrong. 1 in 5 Americans has experienced some form of identity theft. In 2017, the cost of identity theft was almost 17 billion dollars, and it continues to grow every year. We continue to rely more and more on technology in our everyday lives, so a good percentage of identity theft occurs online. However, a substantial amount of personal information breaches happen with paper documents. Document breaches happen in many ways, and it pays for you to be aware of them. We want to show you some examples of how your data could be at ask, and what you can do to prevent it.
Your garbage cans or dumpsters are a usual target for these thieves. They go through your trash looking for any personal information they can use to create phony accounts or gain access to private accounts. Once your garbage is put out for collection, it’s legal for anyone to look through it. Your trash can hold all kinds of information including monthly bank statements, credit card bills, regular monthly bills, medical bills, insurance statements, and any financial records like old tax returns.
What to Do
Never put any documents with personal information on them in the regular trash. Instead, you should shred all your paper records with a professional document destruction service. That way you can know your information is destroyed in a way that it can’t be retrieved.
Your Incoming Mail
Identity thieves know that most people receive documents every day with their personal information in the daily mail. Because of this, they will actually steal mail directly from a person’s mailbox. Some thieves might be even bolder and have mail redirected through a change of address request made at the post office. They’re often looking for banking information, credit card statements, tax notices, medical records and even junk mail like credit card offers to open accounts.
What to Do
If you suspect that someone might be stealing your mail outright, you still have options. Consider a locked mailbox or use a post office box. With a more secure mailbox, you can prevent potential thieves from having easy access to your sensitive information.
You Outgoing Mail
These unscrupulous people will also steal your outgoing mail from your mailbox or the postbox on the corner. They know that your personal information is there and if you’re mailing a check to pay a bill, they might steal your check and make a new one out to someone else and cash it. You may not know for months that it’s happened until the person you’re paying contacts you about the outstanding balance. Once it starts, it’s hard to stop because more checks will follow once they have your banking info.
What to Do
If you plan on mailing out sensitive information, you should never leave checks or other documents unguarded. By bringing your outgoing mail directly to the post office, you can ensure that it gets delivered and is safe from theft.
Business Record Theft
Business record theft involves the stealing of company information. Identity thieves will go through the trash of a business to get client files, employee records, or business account information. These documents often contain social security numbers and customer information and account number. Thankfully, there are easy ways for you to combat business record theft.
What to Do
Never put any business documents in the trash. Shred all of your business records with a professional document destruction service, so you know your information is permanently destroyed.
Corporate Data Breaches
A corporate data breach is when a company’s protected and confidential information is accessible, copied, viewed, or stolen by someone who is unauthorized to obtain the information. The data can be personal or financial and include names, addresses, telephone numbers, social security numbers, personal health information, banking information, credit history, and more. Once this information has been released, it will likely never be recovered and the individuals affected are at an increased risk of having their identities stolen.
What to Do
Keep all business information in locked rooms or locked file cabinets with limited access. Also, shred all documents when they are no longer needed.
FileShred is a locally owned onsite document shredding and hard drive destruction service in Connecticut. We are document destruction professionals and will help you securely destroy your confidential papers. Give us a call or visit our website at www.fileshred.net.