When Statewide Insurance closed an office in Harlingen they didn’t feel the need to shred their customers information. Instead they just left it in the dumpster. When most people are confronted with this type of behavior they say it was a mistake and won’t happen again. Jay Barnes, the General Manager for Statewide in Austin had a different answer. He said he didn’t need to worry about his customers because the information was “are five years or older.” [video]
Shame on you Jay Barnes and Statewide Insurance. You have demonstrated how you view your customers. You have forgotten who pays your salary. I can only imagine how you treat customers when they try to file a claim.
Since 2005, the Privacy Rights Clearninghouse has been tracking data breaches. They announced that in the first half of 2011 22.4 million records were breached in 275 cases. This is only the breaches that were publicly disclosed. The true number must be much higher. The important thing to remember is that some breaches are very serious when it is the work of hackers looking to steal information and some can be just an old drive that did not turn up in the inventory and is most likely already destroyed. If you do get a notification take the time to learn the threat level.
The Sutter Gould Medical Foundation is moving to Electronic Medical Records (EMRs). The process involves scanning all past medical records. A HIPAA violation occurred when a box of medical records was thrown in the trash by a vendor instead of being shredded. The were unable to recover the box but believe it to be buried at the dump. The affected patients were notified of the incident in compliance with HITECH. [news report]
It sound like they did everything by the book once the problem was discovered. They must also be doing a good inventory to know that one box was missing. It is unfortunate that any information was mishandled but they are an example of how to respond.
I see more and more events offering “free shredding.” The truth is that someone is paying for the shred truck to come out but not passing on the cost. The most common reasons are these events are public relations, customer relations or to raise money for a charity by soliciting donations. To maximize value they seek out attention from local media with the promise of free.
If someone wants to pay to have a shredding truck come out; a shredding company is going to take the job. This provides work for the company and helps the organization with their event. A good relationship for both. The danger for the shredding industry is how the event is advertised.
It takes money to run a shredding company. A mobile shredding truck is expensive, the driver needs to get paid, Uncle Sam always gets his cut, and the owner’s kids need to eat. Shredding services offer high security shredding at a reasonable price but no one can do it for free and last. By advertising that shredding is free it devalues the service for everyone. Homes can be a valuable market for your business but not if they think the going rate for your time is $0.
Some simple changes in advertising can make a big difference. Instead of shredding for free require a donation to a charity. Limit it to homes with small volumes. We have all seen the company law office that tries to sneak in several people with four boxes each. If a company is paying for the service make sure their customers know it is sponsored, not free. The goal is always a fair price for the consumer, and the company.
If you call in you may hear a new voice. Taylor Clemons joined Shred Nations to help meet our growing call volume. Her primary responsibilities are working with people who need a shredding service to find the right solution. She comes with a history of strong customer service skills and we know you will be pleased with the help when you talk to her.
Automated Records Management Systems Inc. (A.R.M.S.) DePere, Wisconsin has acquired the shredding unit of K-tech Kleening Systems Inc. of Weston, Wisconsin. The acquisition adds Marathon, Portage, Wood, Langlade, Lincoln and Oneida counties to the A.R.M.S. service area. They currently offer mobile shredding along with records storage and media vaulting. [story]