Do you recall the news story a few years ago about a document storage company in Illinois that was sued for exposing thousands of medical records with sensitive personal information?
Or the one about the local mortgage company that paid $50,000 to the Federal Trade Commission for failing to properly dispose of documents containing consumers’ credit and personal information?
Even if you don’t, you now know the problem many companies face: how to properly protect the identity of their customers, prospects, members, patients, and employees.
To demonstrate the significance of the problem, consider this: The 2017 Identity Fraud Study, released by Javelin Strategy & Research, found that $16 billion was stolen from 15.4 million U.S. consumers in 2016, compared with $15.3 billion and 13.1 million victims a year earlier.
If all of this is news to you, here’s some background. The Disposal Rule, established in 2005 as part of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), is legislation that applies to large and small organizations that obtain information from consumers for a variety of reasons, from determining eligibility for employment to reviewing credit history. It states that any person who maintains or otherwise possesses consumer information for a business purpose is required to properly dispose of the information in electronic and paper form. The Rule also states that you have to take reasonable measures to protect against unauthorized access to, or use of, the information in connection with its disposal. If you ignore or don't fully comply with the law, you're exposing your company to serious risks.
In other words, if you or your co-workers are discarding or recycling documents that are required to be shredded – even through no fault of your own -- you’re overdue to implement a document destruction program.
The first step is to understand what types of documents need to be properly, safely destructed. Here are examples:
- Customer lists
- Credit card information
- Medical records
- Budget data
- Legal contracts
- Applications for employment
- Confidential letters/memos
- Accounting information
- Employee/personnel records
- Payroll information
- Customers’ mailing lists
- Financial reports
- Cancelled checks
- Tax records
- Social Security information
- Bank statements
Next, hire a professional document shredding company (like Paper Tiger) that is AAA Certified by the National Association for Information Destruction and guarantees that they follow the law. A professional shredding company will offer a variety of services to manage the handling of confidential documents. They will also always provide proof that they’ve properly handled your documents. Ask to see a signed Certificate of Destruction to attest to their work.
Paper Tiger Document Solutions has been an NAID AAA Certified member since 2013. We handle residential and commercial shredding throughout the Chicago area and northeastern Wisconsin.