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“Shred Everything:” What Experts Say is the Way to Protect Your Identity
Things like junk mail and old hard drives can lead identity thieves to opening credit cards in your name.
It’s one reason Governor Dalrymple has proclaimed this “Protect Your Identity Week”.
Experts say this is the number one way to keep your identity safe, because identity thieves can do quite a lot of damage.
“They can do anything. They can take money out of your checking account, they can open credit cards in your name, they can buy plane tickets in your name. They can really do some damage,” BBB business outreach coordinator Heather Johnson says.
“One of the biggest ways that criminals can get your information is really by dumpster diving,” the Village program manager Joshua Huffman.
It’s why Record Keepers hold this free event every year.
People are bringing their sensitive paper documents, CD’s and even hard drives to these guys.
“Once it hits the conveyor belt, it’s gone,” says Todd Henderson of Record Keepers LLC.
Todd says even old hard drives with deleted data can be used to steal your identity, so if you’re looking to get rid of those old hard drives, don’t just throw it away.
He says deleting files doesn’t actually get rid of them; it just removes directories used to find them.
“A skilled hacker or identity thief could still potentially get that information off of the hard drive,” Henderson says.
They fill these locked dumpsters, take them off site to be shredded, and later reused.
“It gets pulped and made into recycled paper products, so the pulping phase is really the final destruction phase. We shred computer hard drives and the material that results from that gets recycled too,” Henderson says.
It’s also recommended you never leave behind ATM or credit card receipts.
Don’t use simple online passwords, and don’t give personal information over the phone unless you know who you’re dealing with.
They also say you should never use email to communicate sensitive personal info like usernames, and credit card numbers.