Some of you know that I have been busy with a new direction of our business these past six months. In the process of my learning process, I keep running across things that point out the constant and growing threat of identity theft, so I thought I would post a few things from time to time. These are a few excerpts but you can read the whole article at http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local-beat/How-One-Man-Averted-an-Identity-Theft-...
Basically a landlord had to take back his building after the company he was renting to went out of business. "left behind: was 46 boxes, containing personal information for about 2,000 clients".
Tookoian fingered through the boxes, bearing Social Security numbers, copies of checks, bank information, credit reports, even thumbprints."
This particular landlord did the right thing in safely storing, then destroying the records, but how many personal records of this type are being left behind daily? If you store things at a storage unit, think twice before you just abandon them. If you are responsible for other people records, and have to go out of business, PLEASE do one last task and properly dispose of those records.
Destruction can be burning, or shredding, but if you shred, don't put them in a bag and place it on the street for disposal. A bag full of shredded paper from the same place is like telling identity thieves where to get the "good stuff". AND, once it is thrown away, even if it is on your curb, the courts will say it is fair game for anyone to pick up.
So what will they do with shredded documents? Put it back together! Seriously, there are companies and software that specialize in scanning shredded paper, then use software to stitch it back together. I won't publicize them here, and they probably would not handle a bag of street trash from an unknown person, but now that the software is available, the criminals are using it more and more.
Spread your shredded material between bags, or with other shredded paper. If you take it to a recycler, ask to spread it among their other product. I joke that they can't get much from me if I don't have it, but they don't know that AND they can wreak havoc on your credit and personal reputation in the process.