Disaster usually strikes when no one is expecting it to rear its ugly head. Here we are minding our own business when the sky suddenly falls on our world. Being a victim of identity theft will feel as if the sky is falling, and it is a sad fact that it is only happening more and more. There are many different kinds of identity theft out there these days, but in this article we’ll only cover a few of the most common ones.

Criminal Theft

This is one of the most common types of identity theft and happens when someone commits a crime with your name. It is extremely, extremely difficult to resolve and it can come back to haunt you in a big way. Imagine applying for a job you really want, or need, and being rejected due to a criminal record you didn’t know you had. Picture being pulled over by an officer for something minor but then having it escalate because they looked you up and, to your horror, there’s a warrant out for you. People claim innocence all the time even if they are guilty of something, so as you can imagine there’s no easy way out of this one.

Medical Theft

The theft of your medical records could lead to several things. Large medical bills being sent your way for operations, medications, and other medical services you never got. The other issue is should injuries someone else got treatment for be recorded on your file, you may be given medical advice for problems you do not have. This can ultimately lead to bigger complications down the line.

Financial Theft

This is when your credit and bank account information is taken to be used to purchase goods and services using your money. Typically the one responsible will use the maximum amount of money they can access from your accounts, leaving you with huge bills and massive withdrawals. All of this will leave you with lower credit scores, and massive debts that aren’t yours in the first place.

Driver’s License Identity Theft

Should your driver’s license be lost or stolen, it is possible that someone else with similar features to you, could use it to pass of as you. This provides them an extra layer of security from being identified for their crimes, as all information will point to you as being responsible. Your record could be stacked up with DUI’s, reckless driving, and even more serious charges. This will cause the police to initially come after you for various charges not your own in the initial stages of investigation.

Avoiding Theft

In order to reduce the chances of all of this happening to you, be sure to properly manage and dispose of your secure documents. Secure document destruction is the best way to reduce the risks of identity theft, and the best way to achieve these results is through a professional service provider such as SAFESHRED. If you are done taking chances and are ready to start increasing your security, reach out to us, we’ll come and help you stay secure.

Call: 1-800-987-4733

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The majority of document shredding companies will also offer a hard drive destruction service. A lot of people, even today in this digital age, wonder why they bother to do this. Why offer a service that people need to pay for when a sledge hammer and a concrete floor will destroy a hard drive? What about just throwing it away after clearing the memory?

The main contributing factor for people not seeing the value in this service comes down to a misunderstanding on the nature of deletion. The proper software and some dedication is all it takes to recover deleted fragments and reconstruct them. We’ll provide some insights below as to the nature of deletion to help you understand why physical destruction is necessary.

What’s the Nature of Deletion?

Deleting a file doesn’t truly destroy it right away. When you press your delete key, your computer removes the directory listing of the file so it no longer appears in your document listing, and marks its location on the drive as “available”. New data is then able to be saved on that spot, overwriting the old data. How soon or long it takes depends on the amount of new data being saved. Fragments of the old data may still exist however, even after new data has been saved over it. In this way, data can still be recovered even after being “deleted”.

 hard drive destruction

Physical Destruction

By taking your old hard drives and running them through an industrial grade shredding machine, you can rest easy knowing all your data is gone for good. Data cannot live through or be recovered from dust! The destruction is so fine that nothing will be left unscathed, unlike attempting to do it at home where parts will be missed or not destroyed enough.

After destruction, the leftover material is sent to be recycled into base materials and then reused in new products. Not only are you ensuring your own security with the proper process, you’ll be directly contributing to sustainability initiatives. It’s all win-win for all!

Ready for Destruction?

SAFESHRED is a Los Angeles based shredding company with a wide range of shredding services available. If you’re ready to have your hard drives securely destroyed, reach out to us and schedule a time for destruction and we’ll ensure your data remains safe.

Call: 1-800-987-4733

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A very common feature for companies handling document destruction, is a fleet of advanced shredding trucks. These trucks zip all over, making house calls while bringing shred services to any location. This convenient option is by far the most popular shredding service. With that said, some people do wonder what the point of having a built in truck shredder is. Why not just load up papers and send them to a facility for shredding and processing?

Why Shred in the Truck?

What exactly is the advantage of having a built in shredder anyways? If the trucks are being loaded up with papers than we might as well just bring it all back for processing, instead of risking a technical failure in an expensive piece of mobile equipment. While there is a risk of that happening, as with all other mechanical devices, the advantages greatly ouyweigh any risks.

The biggest of these advantages is the ability for our clients to witness the entire shred process from start to finish. This is the best way to ensure peace of mind in clients who worry about what happens with their private information. Not only can they witness what happens on the outside, the trucks come equipped with internal video cameras. These cameras let you see the actual shredding as it happens inside the truck. There is truly no better way to feel secure about shredding.

Isn’t this Inefficient from an Operations Stand Point?

Not in the slightest! One might be inclined to think that taking the time to shred at every location we go to, would slow down operations and rather the best option would be to collect as much as the trucks can carry, and ferry them back to the plant for shredding. In reality, the trucks are the best option once again. Shredded material compacts better than then intact papers do. This allows the trucks to carry a larger volume of material in their holding tanks. This ultimately allows for a larger amount of material to be processed when it is brought back to the plant.

Since the papers are already shredded, they can be sent right away for bailing and then off to be recycled. This bypasses the need to run the in-plant shredding line, which ultimately speeds up our processes. The plant based shredder can be reserved for those papers that do get dropped off, and won’t end up being back logged by the trucks arriving. As you can see from the above, the trucks are really and truly a great option for any document destruction operation.

Sounds Great! How do I Get a Truck to Visit?

Just reach out to your document destruction company of choice and schedule a time and place for a shred truck to come. It couldn’t be easier!

Not sure what shred company to choose? Why not SAFESHRED? We’re based in Los Angeles and offer a wide range of document destruction services to ensure all of your needs are met. If you’re ready to dispose of your records, give us a call.

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If you haven’t done a good old fashioned record purge recently, now is the perfect time! “What’s the point?” you may be asking, whether you do it now or later this year, or this time next year; after all, shredding is shredding no matter when it gets done, and I suppose there’s some truth in that. You need to make a decision then: do you really want to risk your private information any longer?

Don’t Take Chances

It’s a sad truth that identity theft is on the rise in this country. As things are going it seems like this trend will only be continuing for the foreseeable future. With this in mind, you need to make sure you are taking appropriate steps to keep your private information safe, and to dispose of it properly.

It is a habit of many of us at home to just let our records pile up somewhere out of the way. In a drawer, in a shoe box shoved into the closet and sometimes even just out on a table somewhere. It’s vital that we stop doing this. If we must hold onto records then we need to take proper steps to secure them in a safe place where not just anyone can stumble across and take them.

What Do I Throw Away?

If you’re with us this far, and you decide it’s time to start purging, you’ll need to decide what has to go and what has to stay. A good rule of thumb is to purge everything that has private information on it. Things like medical records, bank statements, accounting records, and even information about your children need to go. If you have doubts on whether or not a specific file needs shredding, don’t take a chance, shred it anyways.

All Right, How Do I Shred?

When it’s shred time, there is one critical mistake people often make: they pull out that old office shredder they have at home and run the papers through that. We implore you not to use one of these machines for several reasons. Their shred pattern is very basic and makes it easy for papers to be reconstructed, they are unable to handle large volumes of paper so shredding takes forever, and they tend to break down which leaves you with an expensive paper weight.

The Solution?

Professional paper shredding services. Professional shredding has several advantages over shredding alone. The industrial grade shredders used will tear through papers, staples, papers clips, and folders with ease. The material is shredded so finely that reconstruction is impossible. Finally, all shredded material is taken to be recycled, keeping it out of the landfill and saving the environment.

If this all sounds good to you, reach out to us here at SAFESHRED and we’ll take care of all your shredding needs.

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data breach

A data breach can result in a very stressful and difficult time for any business; no organization wants to be faced with such a thing, and we don’t blame them! If affected by a breach you can wind up being at risk financially and your reputation can take a hit, which can be hard to overcome. While we are becoming more and more knowledgeable in relation to protecting ourselves from data breaches, they sadly do still occur and can take place out of nowhere with no warning.

 

Ongoing improvements to technology are without a doubt assisting in workplace efficiencies and competences, but at the same time they are unfortunately also helping hackers in their ability to locate and obtain confidential, private information.  This is becoming a regular reality, however, data breaches primarily stem from the physical loss or theft of devices and documents containing private details. If your business circulates and stores sensitive employee information or customer data, you have a legal obligation to report if and when it is known that information has been leaked.

 

Normally when data breaches take place they make major news, especially if they involve large corporations; today however, data breaches happen so frequently to companies of all sizes and industries that they don’t always get reported. In 2016, an estimated 36.6 million records were made public through some variation of breach.

 

The potential for data breach to take place at any given time isn’t all you should be worried about. Did you know that there are state laws that mandate the steps your business should take following a breach?

In the United States, each state (aside from Alabama, New Mexico & South Dakota) has strict laws in place with such requirements. What are they? Security Breach Notification Laws. The National Conference of State Legislatures has a compiled list of breach notification laws that can be viewed through their website. These laws also reveal how companies may inform victims of data breaches, as well as who is obligated to comply by them. Here are some key points in relation to breach notification laws in the US.

 

  • Breach notification laws in the US only relate to enumerated variations of data that are deemed quite confidential in nature (social security numbers, drivers’ license numbers, bank account numbers etc.).

 

  • Certain US legislations require notification for material breaches only. These are breaches that compromise the security or privacy of an individual.

 

  • The shortest time frame to inform victims of a data breach is 10 days. Failure to meet these time periods will typically result in severe penalties against the information-holding party.

 

  • Penalties for not notifying parties change slightly by state, and they may include fines or additional action against the party that fails to respond.

 

The first such law was announced in California in 2002, and came into effect in mid-2003. The laws established in most other states follow the same basic system of California’s law. The California bill can be reviewed here for more information. A list of the notification bills for alternative states can be found here.

Do your best to have document shredding services in place on a regular basis, and in turn you will do wonders in protecting yourself from the risk of a data breach. If you have secure document destruction in place, you are doing your part in staying compliant with privacy legislation.

Contact SAFESHRED for further details on our document shredding solutions. We are happy to assist you.

Call 1-800-987-4733

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If you own and operate a small home business, it is possible you believe implementing security measures aren’t necessary. Unfortunately this is not the case as document security must be in place for your protection.  In fact, self-employed entrepreneurs that run businesses in their homes have essentially the same legal responsibilities in regards to document security and maintaining confidentiality.

Hackers tend to target small businesses because they know that security measures are often ignored, making them an easy victim.  The 2016 State of SMB Cybersecurity by Ponemo, revealed in one report that 50% of small and medium-sized companies experienced a data breach in the preceding year. The most prevalent attacks were those that took place on the web as well as phishing/social engineering attacks.

Noting these alarming statistics, close to 40% of small business owners are still failing to practice the necessary information security procedures, failing to follow a secure policy for the disposal of sensitive documents.

Let’s take a look at how you can improve your home based business’ security:

Evaluate and Assess Potential Risks

  • Review what confidential information is handled, what your responsibility is to protect that information in relation to data protection regulations, and what the security risks might be
  • Never be afraid to inquire about or confirm security procedures of those organizations you are linked to/partnered with. These may include vendors or suppliers
  • Educate yourself on possible cyber threats, and stay current on ways in which you can stay safe from hackers

Take Advantage of Secure Document Storage

  • You should have a document management process implemented that includes retention periods and secure retrieval
  • If able, convert paper records into electronic format through professional scanning solutions. Save information to the cloud or an external hard drive
  • Always make backups of any electronic records and store them in a secure facility
  • Store sensitive records in lockable filing cabinets or drawers, always.

 

Purge Confidential Documents

  • Always make sure sensitive information is managed in association with specific compliance requirements
  • Forget thinking that you need to “Save” all of your old files; familiarize yourself with those records that require secure storage like contracts, invoices, accounting and tax papers, receipts, billing, expense forms, and client information, and have the rest professionally shred.
  • Arrange a one-time purge service for those old documents that need professional shredding. Ideally this should be carried out on a month to month basis to reduce the amount of documents laying around at home.

Always Dispose of Documents Securely

  • Securely shred all documents that you have no reason to hang on to; this needs to be done prior to recycling them for your security. Outsource secure shredding to an experienced and quality document shredding provider who will promise the protection of your documents through industry best practices.
  • A shred-all policy may be exactly what you would benefit from to reduce chance of human error or poor judgement about what files should be professional destroyed.

Partner with SAFESHRED

Find out how the team at SAFESHRED can protect your home-based business this year. Get in touch with us for a free quote or to learn more about our document shredding processes.

Call us today at 1-800-987-4733

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It is a common occurrence for many business employees; travelling, whether for business purposes or pleasure, comes with certain responsibilities and important considerations. You need to ensure you have everything needed while you’re away which means packing properly and organizing all of your travel essentials so that nothing is forgotten. Whatever your next travel plan involves, surely you won’t be leaving your laptop, tablet, and cell phone at home while you’re away. Traveling on the road with electronic devices is extremely common practice today, but what may be overlooked is the need to protect the sensitive data stored on these devices, by keeping your electronics secure throughout your trip.

With the Christmas season behind us, many are taking their New Year business trips, or travelling with their children for a winter vacation.  The professionals at SAFESHRED want to provide you with some valuable tips to help prevent your information and devices from landing in the wrong hands.

Let’s review some great reminders while you’re away on travels:

  • Back-up all information prior to leaving:Before you pack your bags for a weekend business trip or a weeklong getaway, make it a priority to back up any data that is currently being stored on your device(s), and copy it to any media device that is staying at home. For example, you may want to back the information up on a storage card, cloud, or computer, if these gadgets will be staying at home.  Do your best to delete or transfer any personal confidential matters, like your social security number, passwords, credit card information etc. Think about storing this data in a safer location that provided more security. There’s no reason to keep this information stored on your portable devices.

 

  • Travel lightly when possible:If it’s not an essential electronic or device that’s needed with you, it’s best to leave it behind. Only take with you items and personal belongings that are crucial for your trip.

 

  • Make sure data is encrypted:We highly encourage you to check that your portable devices are encrypted. Why? Should you use public networks on the road, the risk of other users accessing your login details or emails, increase substantially if they in the nearby areas. Encrypting your data makes it unreadable and impracticable to those that aren’t equipped with the tools needed for unlocking.

 

  • Lock all electronic devices:While an obvious security precaution, it should be stressed that you lock your computer and mobile device when it’s not being used; especially while travelling. Do this on a regular basis to help prevent and stop unauthorized persons from accessing your computer’s hard drive and private business information.

 

  • Install anti-virus software on all devices: Viruses and hacking occur all of the time; the last thing you want to deal with is a virus while you’re away. To prevent this possibility, it’s best to install anti-virus software as well as perform regular updates on your personal computers so that all information remains secure without any worries.

 

  • Use password protection on all electronics:Portable devices are very common targets for criminals because they are small and typically effortless to sell. Reduce the chances of sensitive information reaching the wrong hands, and put password protection on all devices. This should be the case for laptops, tablets, mobile phones, and more.  Improve your security by using a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, as well as special characters. Forget about using easy-to-guess passwords like birthdays, pet names, or anniversaries. All phones should be secured with passcode locks and if an option, touch IDs as well. When used for business processes, devices that need corporate email or networks should have secure passwords and be managed successfully by the tools in your mobile device.

 

  • Delete any passwords saved on your devices:Login information that is saved for websites may seem suitable but these saved passwords can leave your private information at Signiant risk.  For your protection, we encourage you to get rid of this selection entirely.

 

  • Never leave devices unattended in a public location:Leaving your computer or cell phone in open view, increases the risk of having your property stolen. When able, keep all electronic devices in a covered purse, your pocket, or close to your body in general. If you misplace your phone or laptop or believe that it has been stolen, report this news right away to help ensure information isn’t compromised.

 

  • Connect to encrypted networks: if you’re using public networks for internet purposes, check that they are encrypted first and only choose websites that are “https”. It may also be wise to contact your service provider for a global data package, if you’re travelling internationally.

 

  • Find my iPhone/iPad/Mac: It is smart to enable your “Find My iPhone/iPad/Mac” feature on devices, as if something goes missing or is stolen unexpectedly, you can still locate your device.

    Call our team for more tips and details at 1-800-987-4733

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All companies are subject to certain legislation in the United States, for a variety of reasons. An important component in each of these includes the need to protect highly confidential matters; this typically refers to sensitive print and digital records. Secure document destruction is a key solution highlighted under many of these laws and failure to implement such practices can result in legal action.

SAFESHRED is highly knowledgeable in relation to the specific necessities dictated by federal and state governments to ensure you remain in compliance. We have outlined some of the many regulations to educate yourself on below, all of which incorporate document shredding and how each may relate to your particular industry.

HITECH

The Health Information Technology for Economic & Clinical Health act was established by the federal government under the American Recovery & Reinvestment act of 2009. The primary purpose behind HITECH was the introduction of the requirement for HIPAA-covered entities to inform victims if it has been determined that there was a breach of unsecured protected health information (PHI). Additionally, it goes into detail concerning the necessities that must be met in order for the breach of notification stipulation to be cleared. Organizations protected under HIPAA are also legally directed to notify HSS and the media if a breach occurs that targets more than 500 victims. Specifically, the act states that the encryption of electronic information and the physical destruction of paper PHI are the only recognized processes that could exempt you from a breach notification obligation. If you own and operate a healthcare company, you can learn more details about HITECH here, or talk to a representative of SAFESHRED in Los Angeles, for advice and direction on this topic.

GLBA

If you’re affiliated with the financial industry, it’s extremely critical that you or another employee is trained and up-to-date with the particulars of this act. The Gramm-Leach Bliley Act was put in place in 1999 with the goal of protecting sensitive consumer information held by financial institutions. This refers to any data used to get a financial product (SSN, address, name etc.), any information received from a transaction associated with your financial products or services, or any data received about an individual in relation with providing such financial products and services. You can review a guide issued by the FTC on how to stay compliant with GLBA here.

FERPA

The Family Education Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that aims to secure students’ educational records. The law relates to anyone that collects funding under programs administered by the US Department of Education. To stop unauthorized disclosures of sensitive data, it is recommended that related entities use secure measures, such as document shredding to dispose of sensitive records. Failing to dispose of records properly may be recognized as an unauthorized disclosure, leaving businesses in vulnerable positions, in the hands of the federal government. For further education on FERPA, check out the Department of Education’s official portal on the act here.

Verifying that your company is up to snuff on the law is crucial to stay alive and competitive. SAFESHRED’s quality shredding services supply you with an essential step in ensuring your company doesn’t have to deal with the trouble of legal matters. Keep focusing on what you do best, and we’ll handle the rest!

Get in touch with our professional team in Los Angeles to speak to us in regards to your specific shredding needs and how we can help your company improve its security efforts. Call 1-800-987-4733

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It’s common for smaller companies to have fewer security processes in place due to the simple fact that they think their size will eliminate them from falling victim to information theft; sadly the opposite is quite true, and these companies can be significant targets for cyber criminals.

With that said however, it shouldn’t be the only reason you create a secure environment in your place of business; data breach can be extremely costly and unfortunately it continues to affect several businesses. Not only can the affects be overwhelming from a financial standpoint, but it can also damage your reputation significantly. Small start-up companies are actually more vulnerable to fraud and information theft because often they are still working towards building their business and customer base.

security tips

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