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September 3, 2016

How You Can Avoid Becoming an Identity Theft Victim

When it comes time to dispose of the unneeded documents at your Albany business, just tossing everything in the trash is common. What many people don’t realize is that by throwing away fully intact documents and records can lead to identity theft. One common way that someone can steal your private, sensitive information is through dumpster diving. That is where a person will dig through trash in search of your data for personal gains.

Each year, nearly 15 million American residents fall victim to identity theft crimes with roughly $50 billion in financial losses. In addition, in 2013, the state of New York landed in the fifth spot on the Consumer Sentinel report’s list for a high rate of identity theft crimes. It was reported in 2013 that every 2 seconds within a single day, an American citizen became an identity theft victim. With stunning numbers like this, you and your business need to lower the risk of identity theft happening.

Here are five ways to combat identity theft:

Shred Your Documents

Instead of tossing your sensitive company documents in the garbage, have them properly destroyed. PROSHRED®’s trained technicians will ensure that all documents are correctly shredded which will remove any worry about your private information being exposed. These documents can include old mail, bank statements, credit card bills, computer reports and various receipts. We can also destroy other vital material, such as hard drives. At the end of each shred job, you will receive a certificate of destruction which will prove that the secure shredding process took place at a specific time and date.

Choosing Strong Passwords

When you are setting up login passwords and PIN numbers for such things as your email, social media, and bank accounts, never use generic passwords that other people can figure out easily. As an example, using your birthday or your street address are too common. Pick passwords that identity thieves would have a hard time cracking, such as a mixture of scrambled letters and numbers. Make sure your passwords are long – bare minimum eight characters but 12 or more is stronger. Also, it’s good to keep in mind that you should not use the same password for all your accounts. Rather, select a different password for each of your accounts.

Photocopies of the Items in Your Wallet or Purse

Though you wouldn’t normally think of making photocopies of items in your wallet or purse, such as a driver’s license or a health card, if items with vital information goes missing or is stolen, you need to quickly back up everything. Photocopying those personal items is good to have just in case of an emergency.

Protect Your Computer

Data breaches and cyber-attacks are a growing concern in the United States. Without knowing it, computer hackers can gain access into your personal or work computer by using software, such as spyware. However, unlike a virus, spyware software allows a person to snatch up a variety of data, like account login information and personal details. To help avoid this from happening to you or your co-workers, install a recommended, strong anti-virus program and an anti-spyware program into your computers.

Locking Your Documents in a Container

When at your workplace, putting aside unneeded, sensitive documents in a desk or filing cabinet may not be safe enough. Someone can easily get into a desk or filing cabinet to steal those documents for personal gains. Storing away those old documents in a safe, secure bin or container, such as the ones PROSHRED® supplies, will give you peace of mind knowing no one will be able to access the private information on those sheets and records.    

While those are just five ways of combating identity theft, choosing PROSHRED® for your Albany organization’s shredding needs will ensure a lower risk of identity theft crimes from happening. For more information on our services, contact us at (518) 512-0321

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