Assessing Your Company’s Identity Theft Exposure

Identity theft is one of the biggest crimes in Canada, and is often the result of inadequate business procedures for protecting personal information. You may feel like you are already doing everything in your power to protect the identity of your clients and employees, but it may not be enough. Here we offer a few important things to be aware of when disposing of your paper documents.

Ease and location of disposal

Paper shredding machines are not very efficient. Staples and paper clips must be removed before documents can be shredded. A relatively small number of sheets of paper can be fed into the shredder at a time. Shredding equipment may not be located in easily accessible areas within your office. There may be times when your shredder is inoperable. All of these factors can prevent sensitive information from being destroyed in a timely manner.

Monitoring destruction

While shredding is often encouraged, it is rarely monitored, so it is difficult to tell if no longer needed invoices, contracts and customer records are being disposed of properly. Sensitive documents may be left in plain sight in work areas or on desktops overnight. An after-hours walk through of your facility would enable you to gauge specific risks:

• documents left in copiers or fax machines
• unlocked file rooms and offices
• personal information in waste bins

Conduct these regularly and share the findings with your staff; use it as an opportunity to educate them on the importance of privacy protection.

Where does shredded material end up?

The typical in-house shredding program usually results in bags of shredded material being deposited into an outside trash Dumpster on a regular basis. “Dumpster diving” is increasingly being used as an identity theft technique by criminals. Identity thieves take the bags with the hope that sensitive documents can be easily reconstructed. If your shredder doesn’t thoroughly shred paperwork, thieves are often successful. Documents shredded into strips are especially vulnerable.

Professional paper shredding enables a strict “chain of custody” throughout the destruction process. Confidential files are never put in a dumpster. Instead, paper documents are deposited into our collection containers, which are picked up on a regular basis by screened professionals to be shredded on-site at your facility.

What about recycling?

Given the amount of discarded paper businesses produce, a corporate recycling program can make an important contribution to a healthier environment. Scattering blue bins throughout your office, however, can also lead to theft of confidential information. Documents that should be shredded may instead end up in a recycling bin. People may be unsure of whether paperwork should be recycled or destroyed. When our collection bins are used for the secure gathering and disposal of documents, all paperwork is destroyed and also recycled; your paper shredding provider bales all shredded documents and sends them in a secure manner to a vetted recycling facility.

Shred Guard provides professional paper shredding and information destruction solutions to businesses throughout Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. To find out more, please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.

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