Competitive intelligence and information thieves are finding a lot of value in what’s inside your garbage cans. It’s an alarming fact of modern business life, but information breaches don’t just happen to celebrities ducking from Paparazzi.
Since sensitive corporate information moves in large volumes over wireless connections today, extreme protection must be taken against theft of information not only left on paper, but inside hard drives, housed on corporate servers and stored on optical media like DVDs and CD-ROMs.
The Federal Trade Commission and watchdog organizations, among others, warn that identity theft and corporate espionage is on the rise. Here is some information provided from the FTC about ID theft and how to protect your company against the persistent threat of information thievery.
Identity theft starts with the misuse of your personally identifying information like your name and Social Security number, credit card numbers, and/or other financial account information. Companies suffer similar consequences of individual identity theft when they fail to enforce document retention policies to inconsistent policies for data storage. For identity thieves, commonly distributed business information is as good as gold.
Skilled identity thieves may use a variety of methods to steal your personal or corporate information, including:
Dumpster Diving. They rummage through trash looking for bills or other paper with your personal information on it.
Skimming. They steal credit/debit card numbers by using a special storage device when processing your card.
Phishing. They pretend to be financial institutions or companies and send spam or pop-up messages to get you to reveal your personal information.
Changing Your Address. They divert your invoices and billing statements to another location by completing a change of address form.
Old-Fashioned Stealing. They steal wallets and purses; mail, including bank and credit card statements; pre-approved credit offers; and new checks or tax information. They steal personnel records, or bribe employees who have access.
Pretexting. They use false pretenses to obtain your personal information from financial institutions, telephone companies, and other sources.
While some companies offer adequate document destruction services, some paper shredding companies go beyond common shredding standards to help guard companies against corporate information theft. When evaluating the services provided by local shredding services, it’s best to use a provider that serves as an advocate for your company and your employees.
There’s one additional benefit to selecting the right shredder. You’re taking another step towards “greening” your business.
When selecting the right shredding company, you’re not only are you confident that your information is professionally destroyed by commercial paper shredders who are properly certified, but you also open up opportunities to contribute to the production of recycled paper.