Why is complete document destruction so important?

Companies often overlook the importance of document destruction until things go wrong.  Just tearing up a document is not good enough when it comes to destroying confidential or sensitive information.  The reason why important documents need to be disposed of properly is to curb the potential for white collar crime.

Each document goes from creation to storage to destruction.  Complete destruction of documents is a vital part of documents and records management and it can help to prevent white collar crime such as identity theft.  Every business is a potential source of sensitive and confidential information that needs safe and secure destruction.  This information can be anything from driver’s license information, employee records, credit card receipts, signed contracts, even luggage labels.  If any of this information ends up in your garbage bin or worse, at a dumping site, it becomes fair game to anyone who gets their hands on it.

What is identity theft?

Identify theft is rapidly growing organised crime, and a multi-billion-dollar industry in which special infrastructure, highly specialised equipment and top-notch skills are used for the creation of fake identification.  Yes, we live in the digital age and computer hacking is a major concern for most of us, but don’t underestimate what can be done with information obtained from physical paper.  The scary thing is that people who are active in this ‘industry’ only need a couple of pieces of information to steal your identity and gain access to your bank accounts or credit.

What type of information is used for identity theft?

  • ATM receipts and bank statements
  • Cancelled cheques
  • Investment documents
  • Any documents containing a maiden name
  • Travel itineraries
  • Documents with passwords or PIN numbers
  • Driver’s license details
  • Address labels from magazines
  • Employment records
  • Credit card bills
  • Payslips
  • Expired passports and visas
  • ID tags such as employee ID badges and military IDs
  • Any legal documentation
  • Copies of birth certificates
  • Used airline tickets
  • Investment transactions
  • Documents with a signature such as contracts and letters
  • Luggage tags
  • Credit reports
  • Medical records
  • Curriculum Vitae documents
  • Tax information
  • Utility bills

Which companies and institutions are targeted by white collar criminals?

Well-known sources of information used for identity theft are financial companies, investment companies and hospitals for instance, or any type of company or organisation that stores confidential client or patient information.  Other people who are extremely motivated to gain access to personal information are internal staff members, investors and shareholders, for obvious reasons.  Proper document management such as the destruction and disposal of confidential information is a top priority in all industries.

What is the best method for destroying documents?

The most secure way in which sensitive and confidential information can be destroyed is by means of document shredding.  This process allows you to dispose of your documents quickly and efficiently.

What types of shredding are there?

There are several different document shredding methods.  Companies can either purchase shredders for their offices such as strip cuts and cross tabs. Larger corporations usually opt for professional companies to take care of their document destruction requirements.  When hiring companies to do the shredding for yourself, paper is collected on a regular basis after which it is destroyed and recycled.

When hiring a company, how does the shredding process work?

Shredding takes place on the premises of the document management solutions provider.  Not only do these companies shred paper documents in any and all formats, shapes and sizes, they also shred entire files, videos, DVDs and even hard drives that contain confidential information.  After the actual destruction of these sensitive information sources, all destroyed material will be sent for recycling, and you will be issued with a certificate of destruction.