The old adage, "One man's trash is another man's treasure," takes on a new and scary meaning when applied to dumpster diving and identity theft. Unfortunately, not everyone who sorts through trash is looking for day-old bagels. Some dumpster divers are actually identity thieves, and they are looking for your personal information.
Preventing Garbage-Related Identity Theft
When it comes to protecting the info contained in your documents, there are measures you can take. When it comes to personal data, the most important thing to remember is to not get careless. If you toss out anything that should be kept private, you may be inviting someone to commit fraud in your name.
- Create a secure space for papers.
If you have documents that you intend to hold on to, make sure that you have a safe place to put them. A strongbox or a locked file cabinet would be ideal. In the event of theft, you don't want your personal info to be exposed to theft along with your other valuables. Also, if these papers are securely kept in one place, you will be less likely to throw them away by mistake.
- Consider buying a shredder.
For documents that you wish to dispose of, putting them through a shredder will make them useless to a would-be identity thief. A basic shredder can be purchased for around $30 or less at most large discount stores. And with how much money you may save yourself by keeping your info secure, this seems like a sound investment.
With a small amount of effort, you can prevent your own trash from becoming a security risk. However, what happens when companies that you do business with are less cautious? A corporation that you trust may be putting you at risk. And, unfortunately, you may not find out until it's too late.
Making Businesses Aware of Discarded Document Security
Security experts have staged dumpster dive experiments in order to gauge how well major corporations are doing when it comes to disposing of sensitive documents. And the findings have been alarming. The Social Security numbers and cell phone numbers of celebrities and "regular" people alike have been discovered in dumpsters in addition to credit card numbers and account information.
You have no control over how a company handles (or mishandles) your data. Therefore, is there anything you can do to keep your identity safe?
- Check out your businesses. Before choosing to do business with an online retailer or a credit card company, Google the business. If other customers have been victimized by identity theft, you may wish to avoid them. You can also contact a business that you are curious about. Then, you can ask them questions about how they dispose of information and other security measures taken.
- Guard your credit report. No matter how careful you try to be with your personal information, mistakes can happen. Almost anyone who has a checking and/or credit card account can become an identity theft victim. However, if fraud occurs at your expense, you can minimize the damage. You can monitor your credit yourself by requesting a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the primary reporting bureaus. Or, for constant alerts, you can subscribe to a professional credit monitoring service.
Hopefully, if more consumers are aware of dumpster diving on the corporate level, companies will be forced to take action. To protect private info from falling into the wrong hands, they'll have to.
Trusted Financing Assistance
When it comes to finding assistance with auto financing, don't trust just anyone with your information. Auto Credit Express has been helping car buyers with credit issues for nearly two decades. And we have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. We'll match you with a local dealer that can work with unique credit situations. Also, we'll keep your info safe.
Just fill out our fast and 100% secure car loan request form to get started today.