It is bad enough that we as individuals may handle our own records carelessly, but companies need to PAY ATTENTION. Identity theft is rampant!
My insurance records were lost on an insurance company laptop recently. My mother-in-law had hers lost from an emergency responder's laptop in Chicago last year. When will the "other foot" fall? By the way, my records also tie into my wife's.
In Atlanta an employment staffing group put their records in a container at a recycling center and now they are being investigated http://www.ajc.com/news/temp-agency-dumped-documents-334863.html and may face fines.
It is real folks and when you are the keeper of other people's information, you have an obligation to take it seriously. It will happen anywhere, even in our neighborhood!
This person in Atlanta THOUGHT the information would be destroyed, He should have either done it himself (scatter the shreds among other trash or you are advertising to the unscrupulous that "Here is my secret stuff!"), or have it done by a company that is licensed/bonded to do this exact thing.
I am amazed at the number of employees who do not know if their company does this, what the procedures are or what DOES happen to this information. I have started asking the question every time someone says "fill in this form". If they don't know, up goes the red flag and we have a discussion.
Do you know that most businesses that handle public information of a personal nature are under governmental mandates to have a written program for the handling and destruction of this material? Don't feel bad, many businesses don't know, or don't think it applies to them.
It is not just paper documents. Think hard drive, thumb drives, or cd copies. All of these can have sensitive information. Erasing does very little to hide it from talented thieves. It may hide it from us, but I can get FREE software off the internet to recover those files.
Our daughter mistakenly erase her pictures from a thumb drive. The gut wrenching emotions were quickly eliminated by going to the internet, downloading the software and kazamm, the pictures were back!
To be safe, they need to be erased, overwritten numerous times and even then, they can probably be recovered by the right talent. Scary isn't it? Those computers you gave away or sent to recycling? Give them everything but the memory devices.
There are other techniques for removing data, like degaussing etc., but a simple suggestion for electronic records is to destroy the hard drive or disk. Yes, CSI type folks might be able to reconstruct the pieces and if you are handling super sensitive stuff, you might want to scatter the pieces. This may be overkill for regular consumer information, but......
They may only get the $5 in my account, but they can sure mess up my credit reputation and others in my family. Ask, no demand that your records are handled carefully and when come times for destroying, they need to handle it as serious as anything they do.