It’s an unfortunate fact that many people tend to take a cavalier attitude toward the disposal of sensitive documents. An envelope with an old address or a credit card advertisement might be given little more than a cursory glance before being chucked into the trash. Businesses could do something similar, perhaps feeding customer information through a single-strand shredder before dumping everything into the public garbage.
Both methods of disposal leave information vulnerable and might put individuals at risk for identity theft and monetary fraud.
In 2016, the United States had the third-highest rate of card fraud in the world. Almost half of all consumers in the US experienced fraud at some point throughout the year. While certainly online data is equally vulnerable and deserves protection, an alarming amount of personal information is discarded in physical trash. This information is usually easy to retrieve, too. It might only take a few seconds of rummaging to come up with a credit card number, a birth date, and an old address. Armed with only these three pieces of information, a thief could do massive amounts of damage before anyone ever noticed the information had been stolen.
Why Document Shredding Services Are Important
Professional, industry-grade shredding works so well because it guarantees that the documents will not ever be able to be retrieved or reconstructed. Unlike standard office shredders, certified shredding services use state of the art shredders, which cross-cut papers and other documents into tiny, confetti-like pieces. Those particles are then responsibly recycled.
Shredding not only provides an impenetrable safeguard against the theft of information, helping you protect yourself and your customers, but also ensures that your company complies with federal and legal regulations for the safe disposal of sensitive data.
How to Know What Needs to be Shredded
What should you do with old ID cards, pre-approved credit card applications, and old resumes? Each of these items could be used to impersonate your identity and gain access to your private accounts. A shredding service could be the best way to make sure that no one else ever has access to the information they contain.
When in doubt, a good guideline to follow is that if a document contains information that could be used to identify a specific individual – an address, a health number, account numbers, signatures, or records of travel or employment – then it should be properly shredded before disposal.
For businesses or companies operating within specific industries (financial, medical, or educational), disposal of client and customer information can be even more important. According to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (colloquially known as HIPAA), medical records that no longer need to be stored must be treated so as to ensure that they are “essentially unreadable, indecipherable, and otherwise cannot be reconstructed.” Similar standards exist for other industries. These regulations can deliver hefty fines onto businesses that fail to comply with the directive to protect sensitive information in the required way.
Home or Business: Everyone Can Benefit
When a business or company elects to partner with a professional shredding service, they effectively guarantee to their customers and investors alike that they are committed to responsible stewardship of the information entrusted to their care. After the documents have been destroyed, the shredding company will provide a Certificate of Destruction, which can be kept and used to demonstrate that adequate steps were taken to correctly dispose of the information.
Private residents can find benefits to shredding, too. Privacy rights are lost as soon as trash is relinquished into the public system, usually as soon as it lands on the curb, waiting for pickup to the dump. Shredding the documents first guarantees that even if someone unsavoury noses around your trash, the information will be forever beyond their reach.
How to Choose the Right Shredding Service for You
Document Destruction of Virginia offers several different shredding services, ranging from the facilitation of a one-time purge to recurring, scheduled pickup for shredding. We’re also happy to provide hard drive destruction, which guarantees that the vast amounts of information that might be stored on digital devices are rendered absolutely irretrievable.
If you’re unsure which manner of shredding would best suit you and the specific needs of your documents, give us a call at 1-877-338-3320. Our friendly staff members are standing by to assist you. Alternatively, you can request a quote online.