Discussions of identity theft conjure up thoughts of peoples’ trash or mailboxes being gone through or stolen from. But you have a post office box and shred all of your old documents and mail so you are completely safe from the threat of identity theft, right? Maybe not.
Have you ever had to present your identification at a business like a doctor’s office for them to copy for their records? Or made copies of sensitive documents for one reason or another? Hard drives are devices for storing and retrieving digital information, primarily computer data.
According to a CBS News report, nearly every digital copier built since 2002 contains a hard drive storing an image of every document anyone has ever copied, scanned or emailed.
Copies of such things as a driver’s license, social security card, passport, medical records, car titles, property deeds, mortgage records, insurance papers are requested for many reasons and we are happy to oblige if we trust where it is going. Especially if we only scan it to fax or email the document. After all, we hold the original, right?
The security, or false security rather, that we feel by not actually mailing these documents is just that…false security. And believe me, fax machines have hard drives in them, too.
These records and copies are safe....as long as the copier, scanner, or computer stays at a safe location. As soon as a business or medical office discards these office machines, the hard drives contained within should be shredded or your records are going with it.
The best way to keep yourself safe from identity theft from as many sources as we can control, shred sensitive documents and shred hard drives from computers, copiers, printers, and scanners. Ask anyone who copies your information or people that you send it to how they plan to dispose of their hard drives once they upgrade their systems. This may be a difficult question to ask, but education and awareness are the key to stopping these thieves in their tracks.
For more information on shredding sensitive documents and identity theft visit www.wasteawaygroup.com.