Choosing the right shredding company is difficult. There’s an abundance of shredding companies out there to choose from that offer various options.

You may be new to the concept of shredding your documents, but choosing a shredding provider is not something you should take lightly.

Shredding companies are your best defense against data breaches and identity theft, which could prevent your business from losing thousands of dollars. It is estimated that data breaches can cost businesses between $36,000 to $50,000 and sometimes even more!

When you’re looking into shredding companies, treat it as though you’re hiring a new employee; you ask questions and interview a few before deciding. This is very much the same process!

But, what to ask a potential shredding company?

First…Do a Bit of Research Yourself

When you’re looking for a business in any capacity, their reputation speaks volumes. What are their reviews like? How long have they been in business? Do they have repeat customers? When you choose a shredding company, you’ll want to ensure they are trustworthy, seeing as they’re handling your sensitive information. And don’t be afraid to reach out to the company and ask them some questions!

Here are a few questions you can ask:

1. Does Your Company Understand All The Shredding Laws?

Shredding your confidential documents is not only for your protection; it’s the law. Federal and state laws dictate that you must shred sensitive information to protect yourself, your business, and your clients. Not only do you have to have an understanding of the laws, but your shredding company should as well.

The shredding company you use should have an understanding of your laws as they pertain to your industry. And, look to see if they’re NAID certified, which means that they meet industry standards for secure destruction.

2. What Are The Policies Towards Recycling And The Environment?

Recycling your papers is imperative. It is estimated that recycling 1 ton of paper saves around 682.5 gallons of oil, 26,500 liters of water, and 17 trees.

Your document destruction company should care about the environment.

Did you know that paper accounts for 25% of landfill waste, and that 50% of a business’s waste is from paper?

Professional shredding companies ensure that all paper is recycled after the job is completed. Some shredding companies also provide safe recycling of e-waste for hard drive destruction.

At Safeshred, we care about the environment. We ensure that 100% of our paper is recycled and use energy-efficient shred trucks. When you work with us, you join our work in helping the environment!

3. Do You Offer Lockable Security Bins?

You may be wondering why this matters, but protecting yourself and your business is a full-time operation, not a one-time fix. In between shredding appointments, you should be storing confidential documents in a lockable, security bin. Many shredding companies offer security bins to accompany their services. Using a lockable bin ensures that your documents are protected until the next shredding appointment!

4. Do You Offer a Certificate of Destruction?

If the worst were to happen and your business got hit with a data breach, you’ll want to ensure that you’re protected. A certificate of destruction is a document that provides proof of your compliance with federal and state shredding laws. Unlike personal office shredders, this can protect you in the event of a data breach.

SafeShred has been providing document destruction services for over 20 years! We serve clients with the highest security requirements and brand standards, including all levels of government agencies, aerospace, medical, legal entertainment, financial and hi-tech industries.

To find out more about our services or policies, give us a call at 1-800-987-4733 or send us a message online. We’re always happy to answer any questions!

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There’s no question that recycling benefits the environment.

And it’s so commonplace these days that you probably don’t even realize you’re doing it. You throw your soda can in the recycling bin and don’t think much about it.

But, every recycled item we put in its proper place helps the environment.

Without recycling, 200 million metric tons of greenhouse gases would pollute our environment each year.

So, what about shredding documents? You may think more about abiding by state and federal laws or protecting your customers, but shredding helps the planet, too.

Let’s take a look at some ways that shredding benefits the environment.

 

Professional Shredding Companies Care About The Environment

Being in the document destruction industry, we deal solely with paper.

As such, recycling paper is an integral part of our process. We make sure that all of the shredded materials are properly recycled. When you choose a paper shredding company like Safeshred, you are ensuring that all material is recycled properly. We guarantee that all 100% of the shredded material is sent to our paper mill partners.

When you choose a document destruction company that cares about the environment, you are doing your part as well.

At Safeshred, we take it a step further. Our lockable security bins are built using low-emissions materials and our mobile shred trucks use less fuel per pound of paper shredded than any other company in the industry.

Here’s how recycling your paper benefits the environment…

Recycling Keeps Paper Out of The Landfill

Paper still accounts for a vast majority of products that end up in the trash.

But when you recycle your paper, you keep it out of the landfill. In 2017, 44.2 million tons of paper and paperboard were recycled and as a whole, we’ve been getting better at recycling our paper. The amount of paper materials that go into the landfill has decreased significantly over the past decade.

Each ton of recycled paper saves 3 cubic yards of landfill space. Recycling paper also reduces the release of carbon emissions, which are created when paper decomposes in the landfill.

It Saves Trees

Recycling a ton of waste paper can save 17 trees!

Safeshred shreds and recycles over 134 million pounds of paper per year, which helps save over 460,000 trees.
More recycling can help with deforestation. Trees emit oxygen by using carbon dioxide, which helps create a balance of gases in the atmosphere.

It Helps Preserve Natural Resources

Producing less new paper helps conserve natural resources (like water and energy) that are used in the manufacturing process. It also reduces using harmful chemicals like sulphur, limestone, and bleach.

 

At Safeshred, We Care About Protecting Our Planet

We care about the environment, as every professional paper company should.

After successfully destroying your confidential documents, Safeshred will bundle the small pieces of paper and send them to a recycling facility. You can rest assured that your documents will be successfully destroyed and properly recycled.

To find out more, send us a message online. We’re ready to help you make the world a cleaner, more secure place.

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These days, most of us are working from home.

For some, this is an everyday luxury, but for others, this is brand new territory.

Cyber attacks happen often, especially with most of us conducting our business and financial matters online. Taking steps to be safe online will help you in the long run, especially if you are now working from home and dealing with confidential client information.

We’ve assembled some tips on how to work online safely.

Tip 1: Passwords, Passwords, Passwords

This tip is an obvious one, but make sure you password-protect all your devices and have each device locked with a strong, unguessable password. It’s common for people to use the same password across all devices, but if one account gets hacked, that leaves you vulnerable for all accounts to be hacked.

If you have trouble remembering all your passwords, use a password manager to ensure that you won’t forget. Password managers are an excellent way to create strong passwords without having to worry about forgetting what you created.

Which brings us to our next point…

Tip 2: Use Two-Factor Authentication

The concept of two-factor authentication is not a new concept by any means, but it is an added level of security protection. It works by confirming a user’s identity by requiring a username and password and either requiring a pin number that was sent to the user’s phone or answering an additional question. This makes it harder for hackers to gain unauthorized access to your accounts.

Tip 3: Avoid Suspicious Websites and Links

We receive a lot of emails on a daily basis, some that are legitimate and others that are only trying to do harm. Phishing is a cyber-attack that attempts to trick the recipient into clicking on the link or email, which will, in turn, infect the user’s computer. Often, the insidious link is designed in an attempt to trick the user into thinking it is something the individual would want or need.

An example of this would be a request from the person’s bank asking for their banking information or an email from a coworker or friend with an attachment they are encouraged to download. If you’re an avid online shopper (as many are these days), it could be a link with a promotional discount to your favourite store.

Always make sure you inspect any suspicious links before clicking on them and validate that it is a legitimate source.

Tip 4: Install Anti-Virus Protection and Update Frequently

Using a good quality antivirus or antimalware is one of the most obvious methods of protecting yourself, but it is often the most forgotten. Invest in a high-quality anti-virus and firewall for your system, as well as spyware and malware protection. You should also make sure these are up to date on a regular basis. Manufacturers and developers update software if there are any vulnerabilities detected.

Tip 5: Don’t Overshare on Social Media

Social media can be a great tool for keeping in contact with old friends and acquaintances but be careful what you share on there. Sharing too much information, such as compromising company or client information (without even realizing it sometimes) could have negative ramifications. Make sure your privacy settings are up to date on your social media accounts and you limit what permissions you give to third party apps. Ensure you uninstall unused apps from your phone as well. Apps take up storage and also have access to your data.

Tip 6: Don’t Forget About Document Destruction

Protecting yourself extends beyond protecting yourself online and begins with physical data destruction. When you throw out banking statements or prescription receipts, it leaves you vulnerable to dumpster divers who want to steal your information. The best way to protect yourself is to shred all your confidential documents.

If you’re working from home right now, keep your confidential documents in a safe place to bring into the office to shred once your office opens again. Alternatively, we offer residential shredding services if you need to eliminate some documents immediately.

Safeshred is here for all your shredding needs.

Contact us today for more information!

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If you have the capability to do so, working from home is great. You have ample flexibility in terms of how and where you work, you can wear what you wish, and there is essentially no commute time (other than the walk from your bedroom to your office or the kitchen!). 

On the flip side of things, some people struggle to remain productive when working from home because, well, there are so many distractions. You have access to your TV or maybe you have to care for your children.

During this time, given the recent events of the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of us are self-isolating or working from home. 

While working from home feels much different than working in an office, measures still must be taken to protect yourself, your business and your clients. If you’re a business owner or an employee, eliminating confidential documents properly is essential. 

At Safeshred, we provide residential shredding services, which can help businesses who have employees working from home during this time. 

 

It’ll Give You and Your Employees Peace Of Mind

The pandemic is at the forefront of everyone’s minds right now. People may be worried about their finances or health. One of the last things you want to worry about is someone stealing your identity. Recent studies have shown that 1 in 10 people fall victim to identity theft. In 2019, California was the most popular state in terms of identity theft attacks.

While cybercrimes have been the more recent trend, physical document destruction can help protect you, your employees, and your clients. 

 

It’s Easy

These days, most of us are fortunate to have the option to do most of our tasks from home. We’re able to order groceries online, conduct business, and stay in touch with those we care about. 

Using residential shredding services while working from home is one of your most effective methods to maintain compliance. 

A positive aspect of residential shredding services is that you don’t have to leave your home, which is critical during these times of self-isolation and physical distancing. 

 

What Documents Should I Shred?

  • Documents that contain personal information such as name, birthday, address, phone number or email
  • Employee pay stubs
  • Void checks
  • Credit card information
  • Copy of Sales Receipts
  • Copies of sales receipts
  • Confidential client information
  • Employment records

 

How Does It Work?

The process is simple, affordable, and worry-free. 

While working at home, you may feel as though you have more time on your hands. We will work with you and your schedule to get the job done as quickly and as efficiently as possible. 

Schedule an appointment with us and we’ll stop by in our mobile shred trucks or our rapid response shred truck. All you have to do is have your documents bagged and ready to go. We will then shred all your documents right there, on-site. Feel free to watch as we shred your documents. 

 

Don’t Forget About Product Destruction

When it comes time to get rid of your documents, don’t forget about product destruction. Now that you’ll be home more often, you may also be taking the time to go through items you’ve stored over the years. Did you know that simply wiping a hard drive of all its contents doesn’t ensure your protection? We also offer media and hard drive destruction services to help protect you. 

 

We’ll Make The Process Simple

One of the last things you want to do is be out and about in public. 

Safeshred is here for you to help you maintain compliance while staying at home. We continue to provide our on-site and residential shredding services to customers who need it.

Contact us today or give us a call at 1-800-987-4733.

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We’re counting down the days until spring!

Spring is a time of change and to clear out the clutter that has piled up around your home or the office.

If you find that papers are beginning to pile up around the office, on-site document destruction is a way to eliminate some of the clutter while ensuring your information is protected. 

Here are some of the benefits of on-site document destruction.

It Saves You Time And Money

On-site document destruction saves you time and money, especially in comparison to buying an in-office shredder. Using an in-office shredder wastes employees’ time and can still pose a risk. Office shredders often break and are limited in terms of the amount of paper they can shred at a given time.

We make the process easy.  Our mobile shred truck arrives at your location and shreds hundreds of pounds of paper in a matter of moments. When you schedule an on-site shredding appointment, one of our trained professionals will ensure your confidential documents are destroyed safely and securely at your location. We eliminate the cost of buying and repairing a shredding machine while increasing employee productivity. No one wants to waste time standing over a shredder!

We save you the time of having to drop off your confidential documents at our location by completing the job on-site!

It Helps Your Business Maintain Compliance

Laws dictate that you must shred any personal pr compromising data. If your business’s data were to be compromised, having proof that you properly destroyed your documents would reduce or eliminate your liability. We are certified by the National Association for Information Destruction (NAID), meaning that we implement high standards of security.

It Offers Peace of Mind

Discarding your documents in the trash isn’t an option anymore; laws dictate that you must destroy documents that contain personal or sensitive information. With identity theft on the rise and dumpster diving still an issue, you’ll want to protect your employees, your customers, and your information.

On-site shredding services offer additional peace of mind because you can watch as your documents are shredded and destroyed right before your eyes, without you having to transport your documents to a facility. You can rest assured that we destroy your confidential documents and we also provide a Certificate of Destruction afterward with your invoice. 

Your business reputation is valuable. If your documents fall into the wrong hands, it puts yourself, your clients and your employees at risk. As a matter of fact, small businesses are often frequently targeted by fraud even though most believe that criminals go after big businesses. A study revealed that 1 out of 5 small businesses has been victimized by fraud. Shredding your documents is the first step in prevention.

It Offers Flexibility

In day-to-day life, there are so many responsibilities and life can feel busy. Our on-site document destruction services are fully customizable to your schedule and unique needs. If you have a time that works best for you, we will make it work!

It’s Environmentally-Friendly 

Now, more than ever, sustainability and caring for the environment is important. We recycle over 130 million pounds of paper per year! Each ton of recycled paper saves 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil and 3 cubic yards of landfill space. 

By choosing a company that recycles 100% of the paper they shred, as we do, you are helping your business combine environmental sustainability with privacy protection. 

Looking for On-Site Document Destruction?

We have been providing peace of mind to businesses and residents to the Los Angeles and Orange County area for over 20 years. Request a free quote online today or give us a call at 1-800-987-4733 to get started today!

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With the rise of the internet, a lot of business is conducted online. These days, more and more employers are offering work-from-home options and working remotely has increasingly become the new norm.

A 2018 international workplace study surveyed more than 18,000 business professionals across 96 countries and found that 70 percent of employees are working at least one day a week outside of the office.

Having the option to work from home (or anywhere else in the world) not only provides flexibility, but it decreases missed work opportunities due to poor weather conditions or illness. 

While there are many benefits to working remotely, there are also increased chances of a data breach occurring. To prevent this, it’s important to be aware of how to protect yourself or your employees when working remotely.

 

Implement a Cybersecurity Policy

If your company offers the ability to work from home, or if you are considering it, make sure that you establish a cybersecurity policy. Employees need to understand that protecting company data is extremely important. 

Whether your business is big or small, a data breach can happen to anyone. As a matter of fact, small businesses are frequently targeted for data breaches. Often, small businesses believe that they won’t be targeted and that cybercriminals go after big businesses. According to a 2018 study, however, 58% of cyber attack victims were small businesses. 

The first step in creating a cybersecurity policy is to make sure each employee understands that data security is a priority. Some employees may be unaware of the importance of protecting their data or may assume that if they aren’t working with customer data, they don’t need to worry. Having a policy document to clearly outline all security measures employees must follow will ensure that employees will be on the same page. 

 

Limit Access

When everyone works in the same building, it’s a lot easier to be aware of who is coming and going and who has access to important files. When an employee works remotely, that could mean working at home, at a coffee shop or in an airport (if they travel for business). You never know who might glance over at their screen or try to gain access to their devices. 

What if your employee had access to confidential information and then their device was stolen?  Limiting access to documents and programs that are only relevant to the execution of their duties will help mitigate the risk. 

 

Password Protection

 Always make sure devices are protected with strong, unguessable passwords and are never left unattended. A lot of people use the same passwords across various accounts, but that puts you at risk if someone hacks into your account.

Employees should be advised to avoid opening any suspicious links or emails, otherwise known as phishing scams. Phishers commonly target employees by sending pop-ups and links. When the person clicks on the link, the device becomes accessible to the wrong person. Remaining vigilant and wary of emails with links and attachments you don’t recognize is essential for good online safety. 

 

Be Wary of Public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi is extremely convenient, especially if you’re limited by data usage. One of the benefits of working remotely is that you have the ability to decide where you want to work: be it a coffee shop, a restaurant or a library. The problem with public Wi-Fi is that anyone is able to access it. The risk with that is that you may connect to public Wi-Fi, which is provided by an unknown server, so your data security is not guaranteed. Anyone is able to access public Wi-Fi, which means that hackers can, too.

Employees shouldn’t use public Wi-Fi to send confidential information unless it’s an emergency. 

 

Use Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication confirms a user’s identity by requiring a username and password and either requiring a pin number that was sent to the user’s phone or answering an additional question.

Two-factor authentication provides an additional level of security to give employers of remote workers peace of mind.

 

Encourage Staff to Bring Confidential Documents to the Office

While you may not be able to control where your employees work, you can encourage staff to bring in confidential documents to the office. 

Here at SafeShred, we offer a variety of document shredding services to fit your needs. From drop-off shredding services to off-site shredding services, we will ensure that your documents are destroyed securely and within compliance.

If you’re interested in learning more about our shredding services, contact us online or give us a call at 1-800-987-4733. 

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The holiday season is an incredible time of year: decorating the house with holiday ornaments, spending time with family, and indulging in decadent treats.

Arguably, one of the least enjoyable aspects of the holidays is the shopping.

Packed malls, struggling to find a gift, and spending money all contribute to a stressful experience, which is why more and more Americans are skipping the malls and shopping online from the comfort of home. During the 2019 holiday season, online and non-store retail sales are expected to grow 11% and 14% in comparison to 2018.

However, shopping online poses some risks.

During the holidays, people tend to make a greater number of purchases than the rest of the year. Also, because of the lengthy laundry list of tasks for the holidays, people often tend to be more distracted and are more likely to be hit with fraud.

Whether you’re shopping online or hitting the malls, here’s some tips to protect yourself this holiday season.

 

Update Software on Your Computer or Cell Phone

This tip is one of the easiest tips you can do, but it is often neglected or put off. While you may roll your eyes when you see the “update your software” notification come through, it is an easy line of defense against hackers. Software updates are often released as security measures. While it may be annoying to update your software consistently, it’s important.

 

Beware of Phishing Scams

When you’re scouring the web for deals on that one item your loved one really wants, it may be tempting to click on links that offer tremendous deals.

Doing so may come at a far greater price than originally intended.

Fraudsters will commonly set up fake websites, designed to look reputable, from which they send you an email with a link to the fraudulent site. This is known as phishing.

Some best practices to avoid phishing scams include:

  • Inspecting the link before clicking on it
  • Deleting any suspicious emails or offers that seem “too good to be true.”
  • Check to see if the page is encrypted before entering credit card details
  • Protect your computer by installing anti-malware and spyware software. Make sure it’s always up to date.

Even if an email looks real, don’t click on the links.

 

Don’t Use Public Wi-Fi For Purchases

It may be tempting to take advantage of the free Wi-Fi at the mall in lieu of using precious data, but it can pose some risks. Never use a public computer for online shopping and don’t use public Wi-Fi when entering credit card information. It may be tempting to browse your banking information while taking a break from shopping, but it enables thieves to easily intercept any data on a public network.

You can set up a virtual private network (VPN) on your laptop or your phone, which encrypts your connection while using a public network. Usually though, VPN’s aren’t free and require a subscription.

 

Only Use Credit Cards When Shopping Online

If you’re thinking about making purchases online with your debit card, think again.

Credit cards offer strong protection against fraudulent charges. Many credit cards also offer zero liability protection, meaning that you won’t have to cover the bill for fraudsters trying to make purchases with your credit card.

Some other benefits that credit cards offer are:

  • Virtual card numbers: Virtual credit card numbers are temporary numbers that can be used while shopping online. It’s a measure that helps protect your real account while shopping online. If a site has a disposable card number, it’s a lot more difficult for someone to access your credit card and make unauthorized purchases.
  • Account alerts: Signing up for text or email alerts to notify you if there’s unusual activity on your account.
  • Account lock: you can lock or freeze your account if your card gets lost or stolen.

Alternatively, if someone makes an unauthorized charge to your debit card, the amount you will owe depends on how quickly you report it. As the money is immediately taken from your bank account, it could take longer for you to get it back.

 

Check Your Statements and Credit Reports

Always make sure you frequently check up on your credit statements and reports, especially during the holiday season when you’re more likely to make purchases. Always report any suspicious activity.

Additionally, make sure you dispose of any letters or bank statements properly through document destruction services. It’s easy for someone to steal your identity if you don’t properly dispose of your documents.

At SafeShred, we offer shredding services to Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Orange County. Contact us today for more information or give us a call at 1-800-987-4733.

Here’s to a safe and happy holiday season!

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November 17th kicked off Internal Fraud Awareness Week, a global effort which seeks to reduce fraud by promoting anti-fraud awareness practices. The campaign began as an initiative to encourage business leaders and employees to reduce fraud through education and anti-fraud awareness.

Being aware of fraud scams is important because unfortunately, fraud isn’t going anywhere.

Small businesses, in fact, are frequently targeted by fraud. According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), businesses with less than 100 employees experience a median loss of $154,000. Surprisingly, this number is higher for smaller businesses than larger companies. Smaller businesses often lack the resources to implement internal checks and balances for their accounting systems, which makes them more susceptible to fraudsters.

Knowledge and awareness are key to the early prevention of fraud. Here are some simple measures you can take to protect yourself and your small business.

 

Password Protection

This may seem tedious, but with so many transactions taking place online these days, it’s necessary.

Most businesses conduct their work online, with employees having access to various avenues of technology. Implementing strong, unguessable passwords and locking all company devices is essential. Passwords that require you to change them every 60 days is best practice. Don’t duplicate passwords by using the same one for multiple accounts. This leaves you vulnerable if one of your accounts gets hacked.

 

Company-Wide Training

Business owners often forget that fellow employees are a large point of vulnerability. Payroll schemes occur twice as frequently in small businesses as opposed to larger companies.

However, with the proper training, employees can be an excellent line of defense. All employees should receive consistent training and regularly training about security updates.

Workers’ compensation fraud is another form of small business fraud you may come across as an owner. Worker’s compensation is the business’s defense if a worker gets injured on the job by compensating the worker for their injury. There are a variety of ways this type of fraud can be committed, so remaining vigilant and aware is key. Employees may get injured outside of work and claim this happened on the job, or they could feign an injury. Maintain up-to-date, accurate records, thorough documentation of on-the-job incidents, and watch out for signs of fake injuries.

Limit the amount of access you give to employees regarding banking information by granting a select few with access to those accounts. It’s important to trust your employees, but it’s not necessary to give every employee access to banking information.

 

Implement Surprise Audits

Surprise audits provide another shield against fraud by ensuring that all expenses are legitimate.

The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners offers an anti-fraud protection check-up, which is an easy and effective way to test your company’s fraud health. If you’re unsure of where to start for an audit, this a great tool to see which areas need to be improved upon and corrected.

Ensure you know your monthly numbers regularly as well. Reviewing financial statements on a regular basis (on a monthly basis, if time permits) will send off alarm bells if the numbers go awry.

 

Invest in High-Quality Anti-Virus Protection

It may cost more, but it’s worth it. Invest in a high-quality anti-virus and firewall for your computational system, as well as spyware and malware protection. You should also make sure these are updated on a regular basis.

 

Don’t Overshare on Social Media

Social media can be a great tool for keeping in contact with old friends and acquaintances but be careful what you share on there. Sharing too much information, such as compromising company or client information (sometimes without even realizing it) could have negative ramifications.

 

Data Destruction

Shredding your documents on a regular basis is crucial. Shredding confidential documents that have account numbers, credit card information, addresses or any other sensitive data will help protect your business from fraud or identity theft.

If you’re worried that it may be easy to forget to bring your documents in, on-site shredding services saves you from transporting all your documents. It’s ideal if you’re looking for quick, convenient service.

 

At SafeShred, we offer paper shredding services to hundreds of businesses throughout the greater Los Angeles area. From small, local businesses to industry giants, we are fully trained and NAID, FACTA and HIPAA compliant. Contact us today or give us a call at 1-800-987-4733. Our quotes are always free!

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cyber crime

October is known for pumpkins, scary movies and trick or treating, but it is also known for bringing awareness to cyber-crime. In fact, October is deemed as National Cyber Security Awareness Month. It was established as a way of encouraging awareness of cyber crimes and to strengthen our ability to protect ourselves. Protecting yourself online is so critical, as making one mistake gives hackers the opportunity to inflict significant damage.

Preventative measures are key. You may believe that it will never happen to you, but it is better to remain on the offensive and take the necessary steps. Check out some tips for protecting yourself online.

 

Tip 1: Switch Up Your Passwords

You may have already heard this before, but ensure you have different passwords for all your accounts. If a hacker can get into one of your accounts, at least they won’t access them all when different passwords are used. Also, don’t use common passwords like “1234” or “password” or something that may be easy to guess, such as your birthday. Don’t share your password with others and don’t write it down. Use more than eight characters when you set up a password, with a mix of characters.

Additionally, it’s effective to have separate emails attached to different accounts. If you conduct banking online, as most of us do, have an email account set up solely for banking purposes. If you use one email account and a hacker retrieves it, all they must do is enter a simple “password reset” to your email account and then they have access to all your information, including your hard-earned money.

 

Tip 2: Lock Those Devices

It may seem like a bother to enter a password every time you login to your computer or you want to send a quick text. These days, a lot of us have everything on our phones, including our banking information. Protect yourself by locking your devices and never leave your devices unattended—even for a minute.

 

Tip 3: Be Aware of Your Online Activity

Always be wary of attachments you receive over email, especially if the source is unfamiliar. Before clicking any links in articles, inspect the link. Often links with poor spelling direct you to harmful sites.

Also, if you must use a public computer or a friend’s phone, don’t conduct any online shopping or enter any banking information.

 

Tip 4: Be Careful What You Share

Be mindful of what you’re sharing on social media and your privacy settings. Posting information such as where you work, where you live or when you’re going on vacation leaves you vulnerable to hackers dying to take advantage. Make sure you check your privacy settings on your accounts too, because that leaves you more exposed.

If you receive any random phone calls from people asking for personal information, it’s okay to say no and call the organization directly. In these instances, it’s better to be safe than to be sorry.

 

Tip 5: Dispose of Media and Hard Drives Properly

Throwing out any unused or broken electronics even when erasing your hard drive is still risky. The most effective way to destroy any chance of data retrieval is  through hard drive destruction. Erasing your hard drive does not ensure that the information has been deleted for good. Throwing your electronics in the trash is not only bad for the environment, but it’s bad for your security.

Also, always make sure you report any suspicious activity on your accounts. A vast number of data breaches start with physical documents, so a shredding company is your first means of protecting yourself.

For more information on our shredding services and hard drive destruction solutions, contact SAFESHRED today or call us at 1-800-987-4733.

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September 26th is National Situational Awareness Day, so we thought we’d take some time to talk about different ways you can be more aware of how you present your personal information online and during day-to-day activities.

Carelessness Can Be Costly

In 2016, 15.4 million people became victims of monetary fraud or identity theft. The average amount lost per person was around a thousand dollars. Sometimes, the true cost of the theft may not become evident until several years after the fact. Personal data, like email addresses and account numbers, can be hoarded and later sold online. When the theft or fraud is finally noticed, it can cost untold hours in frustration and worry to get everything sorted out – and even then, there’s no guarantee that the stolen money will be compensated or returned.

The online world is home to our shopping, work, and social lives. We receive credit statements, ID cards, and bank reports through the mail, after which we can examine them in the comfort of our own home. The price for such convenience, however, can easily be found in how often and how easily we put ourselves at risk. Adopting healthier data management habits can help reduce the risk of identity theft and can help grant better control over sensitive information.

Good Online Safety Habits

  • Keep passwords unique – and keep them safe. Surely no one would use 123456 as a password anymore, right? Think again. A study from the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) found that those numbers, in that order, appeared in over 23 million passwords. Create a unique and memorable password for every account, and don’t share them with friends.
  • Never use a debit card for online purchases. Debit cards draw directly from your private checking account, which means that if it’s compromised, it could be a lot harder to get the money back. Credit cards, conversely, tend to have better protections in place. Even then, you can also get a one-time virtual credit card number from your bank, limiting the use to a single vendor.
  • Keep your phone number private. It can be hard to imagine navigating everything from social scenes to online purchases without a phone number. However, handing out your number to someone you just met can be a big risk. Use an app to create a burner number and save your real one for people and sources you trust.
  • Don’t surf freely on public Wi-Fi. On an unprotected, unsecured network, it’s easy for someone to peek at what you’re doing, and that can include seeing account details or password information.
  • Think before you post. If you post a picture online, you might also be sharing your physical location. If you mention you shop somewhere often, or just can’t get enough of the lattes from this one coffee shop, that information stays available for anyone to find. Carefully consider what you’re posing before you hit the submit button.
  • Read the privacy policy (yes, really). Privacy policies explicitly state how the information you’re submitting will be used. Sometimes, companies will share their customer information with other businesses or automatically sign you up for mailers. Know what you’re getting into before you continue.

Safe Practices for Home

  • Destroy documents with private information on them. Yes, this means the birthday card envelope from your uncle with your home address on it. It also includes anything with your phone number, your social security number, any ID numbers, school records, and credit card details. Pieces from single-strand shredders are relatively easy to put back together, so you may want to invest in a one-time paper shredding service.
  • Keep your ID cards in one, secure place on your person when you go out. Driver’s licenses are one of the most desired targets for thieves and fraudsters, and the violation can be hard to recover from. Similarly, social security cards, credit cards, and other forms of ID should never be left unprotected. If you must carry them with you, keep them somewhere close and never leave them unattended.
  • Request a credit report at least once a year. If there’s odd activity or missing/incorrect information, you may need to take more proactive steps to investigate. It’s an easy, free way to keep an eye on your accounts.
  • Don’t give out any private details over the phone. Phone scams are one of the most common. Your phone will ring, and on the other end, an urgent-sounding individual demanding money or information in order to pay a bill or restore service to a utility. Hang up and call the institution or business back at a verified number.

Be Proactive Through Mobile Document Shredding

Many of the above tips are behavioral in nature, requiring either a change in habit or an action. One, however, requires both the decision to act and the mechanical equipment to follow through.

Residents and home businesses often find they benefit immensely from the peace of mind that follows a one-time paper shredding appointment. They can observe the destruction of their documents in real time and can relax in the knowledge that the particles will be safely transported to a recycling facility for processing. The only preparation required is the gathering of all documents to be destroyed.

For more information on mobile document shredding and how it could benefit your business, call 1-800-987-4733 or send us a message online!

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