Identity theft is at an all-time high for consumers, but this insidious crime is not just a consumer problem. Companies of all types and sizes are vulnerable as well. After all, when you run a business, you’re no longer just looking out for yourself. You’re responsible for protecting the confidential data of your company, your employees, and your customers as well.
As a business you store all kinds of personal information. From Social Security numbers to credit card data to birthdates, the information you collect, store, and discard can wind up in the hands of identity thieves if you don’t take the proper precautions to shred it.
Secure document shredding is one of the most overlooked aspects of running a business. Simply tossing a sensitive document in the trash or recycling bin puts a customer at risk for identity theft-and your business at risk for costly fines and lawsuits. The public damage to your reputation from exposing customer information can be devastating as well, all of which can result in your business having to close its doors.
The Importance of Secure Document Shredding For Your Business
Although electronic identity theft is on the rise, stealing paper documents is the easiest way for an identity thief to steal the information needed to open new credit card accounts, get loans, write bad checks, and generally live the high life using your good name and credit.
Businesses who have consumer information on paper documents need to utilize a secure document shredding system that protects private data after it is no longer needed. Here are a few tips to help prevent identity theft in your business:
• Implement a document destruction policy within the company. Know which documents you need to save versus which you can throw away, and the specific steps you need to take to safely destroy information.
• Don’t recycle anything unless you shred it first. Leaving confidential documents in an open recycling bin is a sure-fire way to put your business at risk.
• Be proactive. It’s always the best way to safeguard your business from identity theft. Develop a culture of identity theft prevention and security as opposed to just being reactive when something goes wrong.
• Use a professional document shredding service. This is the best way to ensure there are no gaps in your plan to prevent document shredding fraud and identity theft.
Hiring a Document Destruction Company
Even smart businesses that hire a secure document shredding company often disregard investigating the team behind the service. These companies can hire non-bonded employees-even those with criminal backgrounds-who can gain instant access to thousands of documents containing personal information.
To protect and secure the identity of your business, employees, and customers, your organization should consider hiring a secure document shredding service that:
• Conducts background checks and inspections on each employee
• Employs a rigorous training procedure that ensures employees understand the reasons behind protecting your customer information
• Is certified as a document shredding specialist
• Has a secure document shredding chain-of-custody procedure
• Issues a Certificate of Destruction that confirms the secure shredding of your sensitive documents
In addition to hiring a reputable document shredding service, it’s important to take precautions with your own staff. Teach your employees to shred all documents before recycling them. They should also be regularly trained on privacy policies and secure document shredding procedures to reduce the risks of identity theft.
Protecting Your Identity at Home
Don’t forget that you also have your own personal information to protect at home. Buy and use a cross-cut shredder to shred anything that has private data, such as your name, phone number, address, bank account information, Social Security number, credit card offers, and any other documents that contain personal information.
In addition to the secure document shredding of personal data, one of the best ways for you and your business to prevent identity theft is to hire a service such as ID Theft Solutions-the only identity theft protection company that also recovers your identity. ID Theft Solutions is managed by law enforcement and focuses on returning your identity back to pre-theft status.