Top 12 Tips to Destroy Your Sensitive Data

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with IDTheftSecurity.com Inc
http://actvra.in/54Cq

Believe it or not, you just can’t shred too much. If you aren’t destroying your sensitive data, my best advice is for you to start now. There are people out there who make a living diving into dumpsters in search of credit card info, bank account number, mortgage statements, and medical bills; all things they can use to steal your identity.

Here are 12 tips that you can use to help you destroy your sensitive data:

  1. Buy a shredder. That said, I don’t own a shredder. I’ll explain shortly. There are a number of different brands and models out there. Some even shred CDs. This is important if you keep your documents saved on a computer, which you then saved to a CD. Don’t, however, try to shred a CD in a shredder that isn’t equipped to do this job. You will definitely break it.
  2. Skip a “strip-cut” shredder. These shredders produce strips that can be re-constructed. You would be surprised by how many people don’t mind putting these pieces together after finding them in trash. Yes, again, people will go through dumpsters to find this information. Watch the movie “Argo” and you’ll see what I mean.
  3. Shred as small as you can using a cross cut shredder. The smaller the pieces, the more difficult it is to put documents together again. If the pieces are large enough, there are even computer programs that you can use to recreate the documents.
  4. Fill a large cardboard box with your shreddables. You can do this all in one day, or allow the box to fill up over time.
  5. When the box is full, burn it. This way, you are sure the information is gone. Of course, make sure that your municipality allows burning.
  6. You should also shred and destroy items that could get you robbed. For instance, if you buy a huge flat screen television, don’t put the box on your curb. Instead, destroy, shred, or burn that box. If it’s on the curb, it’s like an invitation for thieves to come right in.
  7. Shred all of your documents, including any paper with account numbers or financial information.
  8. Shred credit card receipts, property tax statements, voided checks, anything with a Social Security number, and envelopes with your name and address.
  9. Talk to your accountant to see if they have any other suggestions on what you should shred and what you should store.
  10. Shred anything that can be used to scam you or anyone. Meaning if the data found in the trash or dumpster could be used in a lie, over the phone, in a call to you or a client to get MORE sensitive information, (like a prescription bottle) then shred it.
  11. Try to buy a shredder in person, not online. Why? Because you want to see it and how it shreds, if possible. If do buy a shredder online, make sure to read the reviews. You want to make sure that you are buying one that is high quality.
  12. Don’t bother with a shredder. I have so much to shred (and you should too) that I use a professional document shredding service.

I talked to Harold Paicopolos at Highland Shredding, a Boston Area, (North shore, Woburn Ma) on demand, on-site and drop off shredding service. Harold said “Most businesses have shredding that needs to be done regularly. We provide free shredding bins placed in your office. You simply place all documents to be shredded in the secure bin. Your private information gets properly destroyed, avoiding unnecessary exposure.”

Does your local service offer that? Shredding myself takes too much time. And I know at least with Highlands equipment (check your local service to compare) their equipment randomly rips and tears the documents with a special system of 42 rotating knives. It then compacts the shredded material into very small pieces. Unlike strip shredding, this process is the most secure because no reconstruction can occur.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen. See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video.

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Re-Blogged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Jeff Dowler 05/18/2017 05:18 AM
  2. Pat Starnes, Brandon, MS 05/18/2017 05:43 AM
  3. Gabe Sanders 05/26/2017 11:50 PM
Topic:
ActiveRain Community
Tags:
data protection
data security
data privacy
data breaches

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Ambassador
3,214,285
Jeff Dowler
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

Thanks, as always for the tips on preserving identify and dealing with sensitive data. I suspect there are many who just don't much about these issues, but should.

Jeff

May 18, 2017 05:00 AM #1
Rainmaker
1,937,365
Nina Hollander
RE/MAX Executive | Charlotte, NC - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Area Realtor

Great "primer," Robert, on the ins and outs of shredding. Only one that might be hard for many is burning the shredded documents.

May 18, 2017 05:03 AM #2
Rainmaker
3,072,640
Dorie Dillard
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning Robert Siciliano ,

Our office does have a shredding service and I love it. I'm always putting sensitive business and personal papers in the shredder. We can't burn but trust the shredding company.

May 18, 2017 05:24 AM #3
Rainmaker
363,834
Pat Starnes, Brandon, MS
Front Gate Real Estate - Brandon, MS
Broker Associate, ABR, 601-278-4513

Terrific advice, Robert. Security and protecting our identity, safeguarding private information is crucial. 

May 18, 2017 05:37 AM #4
Ambassador
2,933,166
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Robert- I love all of these tips.  Most people will shred but on garbage day, I see empty electronic boxes ready to be recycled all of the time. And you're right about shredding being time-consuming.  But, it's better than having our information stolen. 

May 18, 2017 06:40 PM #5
Rainer
362,273
Dörte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Robert,

Shredding & then burning would sorta defeat the purpose or be extra work at least. I take my stuff to shred events & watch them shred it. It takes as long as it takes them to dump the paper in. Gets mixed with other people's stuff & recycled. White paper still fetches from $50-75 per ton for the recycler, so that hopefully offsets their cost of providing the truck & man power.

For cardboard boxes, I always break them down, so they are easier for the sanitation workers to take. If you mix in special boxes with the orange or ramen noodle ones, that should slow down the curb casers.

May 18, 2017 07:53 PM #6
Rainmaker
258,975
John Wiley
Jones & Co. Realty - Cape Coral, FL
Lee County, FL Real Estate GRI, SRES,SFR,PSA

Great information.

I had not thought of some of your tips on the purchase of a shredder.

Thanks

May 19, 2017 04:38 AM #7
Rainmaker
3,734,211
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Good morning Robert.  Great tips for keeping our information and homes secure.

May 20, 2017 04:16 AM #8
Rainmaker
1,128,736
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Los Angeles CA

Since i'm mostly digital, I just rely on security of the soft wear I use and try to be very discreet about my client information. 

Sep 03, 2017 01:33 AM #9
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Robert Siciliano

Realty Security and Identity Theft Expert Speaker
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