Our culture has seen a huge shift in the last ten years in regard to privacy. The rise of Twitter and other social media platforms have made oversharing the norm, blurring the lines of what’s appropriate to share and desensitizing many people to the value of privacy. With posting personal information being so common now, it’s easy to forget just how public your information is. There’s a blind sense of trust among people these days when it comes to their sensitive information, as if the fact that not securing it is common makes it safe.
Take a site like Twitter, for instance. When you begin tweeting from a Twitter account, your tweets are public. That means anyone in the world can access them for whatever reason. It doesn’t matter if you are connected to the person on Twitter or even if you know them at all. No approval is necessary. Twitter actually requires users to use special settings to make their tweets private, something users often forget. Another thing people are quick to forget is that printed information is still the source for the vast majority of identity theft occurrences. Though plenty of people neglect safeguarding themselves online, even more forget about the importance of protecting print materials and the need for measures like A Shred Ahead’s document shredding service. Hence, here are just a few ways individuals and institutions get themselves into trouble by not properly protecting sensitive information.
Many individuals, particularly younger people, have an “out of sight, out of mind” outlook when it comes to throwing away their trash. It’s easy to think that once a document is in the trash, it’s forgotten about by everyone. However, your trash has quite a journey after leaving your house and is exposed to many people through a variety of situations. If not disposed of properly, you run the risk of confidential information falling into the wrong hands, making you vulnerable to issues like identity theft. Common ways identity thieves steal information from printed sources is through bank statements, medical statements, bills, pay stubs, tax records, ATM receipts, and even used airline tickets.
For institutions, the risk lies in not securing client or patient information, which institutions have the responsibility to do. The medical field in particular has a supreme need to secure information to avoid HIPAA violations that could results in hefty fines, lawsuits, and even the end of the practice. Many of these offices still keep some form of print records and must ensure they’re disposed of securely. Information is regularly stolen from documents such as account records, correspondence, financial records, insurance records, property records, invoices, legal documents, obsolete contracts, employee files, payroll statements, purchase receipts, x-rays, tax records, and many more. These documents are more than just that. They’re maps. The smallest amount of personal information can lead a thief to the missing link that unlocks a person’s larger identity.
So how do we stay safe? Whether you’re an individual or an institution, the only way to guarantee your printed materials are disposed of 100% securely is to utilize a professional document shredding service. At A Shred Ahead, our staff is incredibly knowledgeable about protecting confidential information for a variety of circumstances, including the medical industry’s need to comply with HIPAA. We can advise you on the best route for your documents, and we’ll come to you. You can watch the entire process as our trained professionals thoroughly shred every bit of paper with our advanced equipment.
Document shredding is the number-one way to ensure your security and privacy. For questions or to schedule service, call A Shred Ahead during normal work hours at (866) 933-7171 or contact us here on our site.