I don’t know if you have ever read the local police blotter in the paper but some entries can be very humorous. I don’t have any of those to report but I did find this one an interesting entry from Vancouver, Washington. The police responded to a report of personal information in a dumpster behind an apartment complex [report].
A shredding service doesn’t just save you time and money; it keeps the police from knocking on your door.
Being wrong is ok. Reporting something that is wrong is not.
Alan Cohn of ABC Action News is running a report on identity theft. He reported that a great deal of information is in the trash ,true. He said that much of it was in the dumpsters for businesses and medical practices, also true. Then he reported that no law requires a business to shed personal information, false. While Florida may not have a state law there are several federal laws. The primary ones are FACTA and HIPAA. But there are more document destruction laws.
Next time Alan should try more than one phone call.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is in the process of notifying 1,800 people that their personal information was breached. The problem occurred when personal information was put into a recycling bin instead of shredded. The records were discovered at the recycling center. [press release]
It is a good thing to recycle, but don’t forget to shred it first. Want to make it more secure and easier? Hire a shredding service.
Last November we reported that incriminating documents about ACORN had be dug out of a dumpster. This was done by a conservative activist. Well all is fair in politics. The embarrassing contract for a Sarah Palin speech was uncovered when liberal activist dug it out of a dumpster.
Politicians better make sure they are shredding everything because it looks like there are two armies of people who are going to go through your trash on a regular basis.
People who applied for credit at The Room Store in Annapolis, MD had their information exposed yesterday. During a clean out the store threw the records in the trash before shredding them. The records included contact information, social security numbers and a photocopy of drivers licenses. They were discovered by people walking by who notified the news and police.
While no solution is perfect the best way to make sure all the shredding gets done is to hire a service. If it only cost a couple of dollars and no additional time to shred another box then everything gets destroyed; not most things. Here are some shredding services in Virginia.
Thousands of medical records from the Baylor Health Care System in Dallas have turned up in an apartment dumpster. It is unclear how they got there. [report]
The analogy that comes to mind is that personal records are like toxic waste. It requires great care and can cause tremendous damage is let out.
Many offices like to have a three bin system. One for trash, one for recycling and one for shredding. The employees pick which one best fits their need. For a yogurt container the choice is easy. But for a document it gets more difficult. You may have too much end up in the shredding which no one will ever know. Or you may have people put too much into the recycling container which illegally exposes information. An example of this is in Middleton, OH. A dumpster full of private information ended up exposed in a recycling center.
A better solution is a two bin system. One for trash — food containers, empty boxes and bad pens. The second is for all paper that is shredded and then recycled. This prevents any sensitive information for exposure to theft.