Privacy is something that is harder and harder to find in today’s world, especially as we becoming increasingly tethered to our phones and other devices. However, there’s another aspect to privacy that we might not even be thinking about. For just a minute, think about all the documents you sign and put your personal information on, such as your contact information, social security number, and tax information. What happens to those documents after you’ve filled them out? When a company disposes of them, are they being disposed of correctly? Or is your information out floating around in the world, where opportunistic identity thieves could find it? It’s important for individuals and businesses alike to be aware of proper protocols for disposing of confidential information. Document shredding for commercial and residential purposes is one of the best ways to eliminate the risk of identity theft.
What’s the Danger if We Don’t Use Shredding Services?
Research has shown that identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the nation, generating around $50-billion a year and that number is only expected to increase. Around 15 million Americans a year are victims of identity theft, costing them around $50 billion in total.The Federal Trade Commission glumly estimates that there’s a one in 33% chance that you’d have your identity stolen in the next year or so. And although cyber security has gotten a lot of attention in the media recently, almost 90% of identity theft is carried out using information that is gleaned from print sources, not gathered online. Almost 100 million Americans have their personal information put in jeopardy annually when records stored in government and corporate databases are lost and/or stolen. The office of Management and Budget reported that a quarter of incidents that were reported in 2014 involved the mishandling of hard copies or printed material.
On a smaller scale, individuals can put themselves at risk by not using document shredding services for credit card bills, personal financial information, or other identifying information at home. But on a much larger scale, when businesses don’t use document shredding, they put hundreds or even thousands of people at risk for identity theft.
Are Companies Are Taking This Seriously?
Companies are certainly taking confidentiality more seriously — the document destruction industry generates $1.5 billion every year in revenue and mostly serves corporate clients. And top executives from 300 companies who were surveyed said that their security surrounding company records were one of the top five most critical issues that businesses faced.
How Can Document Shredding Services Help?
If you’re doing residential shredding, having a paper shredder in your home can make disposing of confidential papers or papers with your personal identification information on them easy. You can even recycle the paper afterwards! Most paper shredders will also let you shred discs and old credit or debit cards, for even more security. For bigger companies or corporations, employing commercial shredding services might be the best way to go, if you’re trying to safely dispose of a lot of documents at once.
Some companies will provide a locked bin with a slot in the top where employees can put documents that need to be shredded. When it’s full (or after a designated time period), employees of the document shredding services will come and pick the bin up, empty it, and replace it. Other companies will have an offsite location where documents are amassed and later destroyed. For major projects, some document shredding services will even offer same-day pick-up. Some companies might prefer to have onsite shredding, as they have control over what’s being shredded and who sees the documents. With offsite shredding, there’s always the chance an unscrupulous employee could take advantage of his or her position, papers could get lost in transition, or otherwise compromised. On the other hand, offsite shredding eliminates the need to have space taken up with a shredding machine.
It’s important to safeguard your information and make sure businesses are taking the right steps to protect your information. If you’re worried, ask what will happen to your information after a company is done with it.