August 27, 2021
Who is in Danger of Identity Theft in Dallas?
Every time you toss a private document in the trash, you’ve unwittingly given someone an inside look at the personal details of your life. Simple information collected from discarded mail, credit card statements, and personal correspondence could quickly boil into a case of identity theft.
More often than not, fraud is considered a consumer risk, because companies are expected to perform their due diligence in safeguarding client information. In many cases though, this assumption is completely false, as consumer information is jeopardized when private businesses do not abide by federal privacy regulations.
It is important for both private residents and the companies they buy from to do everything in their power to reduce the chances of a confidentiality breach. Security consults around the country agree that document shredding is one essential prerequisite for meeting this goal.
Electronic Identity Theft vs. Physical Identity Theft
With the advent of computers, skilled hackers have exploited weak security protocols in online information systems to reveal our personal data. And every year, we hear about thousands of consumers that are put at risk when a single company is hacked.
The majority of modern identity theft is the result of online breaches, but experts estimate that as much as 20% of all identity theft cases originate from physical document theft. For thousands of Americans, that means criminals are stealing information directly from our trash, from our mailbox, or from inside our office itself. This leads to the startling conclusion that, in many cases, family members, friends, employees, and clients are the culprits behind identity fraud.
Online hacking tends to maximize the quantity of victims, affecting thousands of consumers at once, while physical document theft is usually committed to maximize the payoff from a single victim. Not to mention, while there are millions of victims of online breaches, physical document theft doesn’t require specialized skills, so it can happen anyplace, anytime.
Steps Your Business Can Take to Prevent Identity Theft in DFW
For the same reason that retailers have entire loss prevention departments, every business should also have a framework for fraud prevention. Committing to document security requires only a minimal investment in time and money, saving your company big money compared to the financial losses of a data breach. Here are some steps your business can follow to minimize the chances of an information breach:
1. Be Proactive About Preventing Identity Theft
Your company should recognize that identity theft poses a real threat to the future of the business. Instead of acting after it’s too late, meet with other representatives in your business to discuss a preventative plan for identity theft, not a reactive plan.
This could include:
- Strengthening security measures for digital assets, including implementing strong firewalls, using VPNS for off-site access, and ensuring your company equipment is up-to-date with virus, malware, and software protection.
- Training employees in the best practices for digital security.
- Using strong passwords that are updated often.
- Monitoring business credit reports for suspicious activity or other problems.
- Refraining from using personally identifying information (such as birth dates and Social Security numbers) when setting up account numbers for customers.
- Creating policies for customer relations, such as requesting photo ID for transactions and checking cardholder account records any time someone attempts to pay over the phone or internet.
- Building and maintaining a secure filing system.
- Investing in quality shredding services for secure document and hard drive disposal.
2. Make A Plan for Document Storage and Document Disposal
As a business owner, some things are simply out of your control; that includes how employees will handle confidential documents. Once your organization understands the consequences of irresponsible document-keeping, it can develop an institutionalized plan of action. Your plan should be endorsed by the entire company, made an essential part of training, and enforced so that all employees understand the importance of the security program.This should be broken into 2 parts: document storage and document disposal.
Use Secure Document Storage to Protect Against Identity Theft
If you still use physical documents on a daily basis, make sure that you have a secure filing system in place that lets you easily keep track of documents while also keeping them safe from the sticky fingers of disgruntled employees. Consider investing in the latest technology, such as digital keypads and inexpensive security cameras, to keep information from being stolen from offices.
Many companies today are switching to digital document storage methods. In an age of digital transformation, businesses are taking large amounts of files and having them scanned into digital document management systems that allow for easy file searching and sharing within an organization. If your company is making this switch, it’s important that you not only set up a secure digital storage system with customizable access controls, but that you also make a plan to securely dispose of the physical documents that you no longer need. Simply dumping thousands of business-critical files into the trash when you’re done scanning them is a prime way to expose that data to identity thieves.
Correct Document Disposal is Vital for Identity Theft Prevention
Following protocol laid out by federal agencies and privacy legislation is crucial in most industries. One well-known example is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which outlines how healthcare organizations and medical facilities must maintain patient medical records, and details how that information must be destroyed before being disposed of. Healthcare isn’t the only industry that is affected by data destruction and disposal legislation, so it’s important that your company stays on top of the latest rules and regulations for your industry so that you don’t get fined for being out of compliance or put your clients at risk for identity theft.
Secure document disposal can look a number of ways. Whether your office provides personal shredding machines in every office, or has a central shredding machine for everyone’s use, it might be worth considering outsourcing this very important task to a professional shredding company to ensure you are getting rid of documents in the safest, most secure, and most cost-effective way possible.
3. Find a Reliable Partner for Document Shredding and Disposal
Office shredders are notorious for not only being loud and noisy, but for being largely ineffective when it comes to creating shredded materials that are truly secure. That’s because these machines use a strip-cut method to shred papers, leaving large, uniform strips of paper behind that can easily be put back together by an industrious criminal.
That’s why when it comes time to dispose of unneeded paperwork, you need a partner that you can count on. Hiring a certified professional shredder will save you time and money over a traditional office shredder and further minimize the chances of a data breach. Professional shredding companies like PROSHRED® Dallas Fort Worth use highly-specialized shredding equipment that creates small particles of shredded paper that would be impossible to piece back together. Our mobile shredding trucks can visit your location on-site and shred all of your documents right before your eyes, so you can witness firsthand what secure shredding looks like and have peace of mind knowing that your company data isn’t at risk of creating an identity theft fiasco.
If you are located in the Dallas-Forth Worth area, then there’s no better option than partnering with PROSHRED®, the state’s leader in on-site mobile shredding solutions and Dallas identity theft protection.