Paper documents are not as widely used as in the past. However, the ones that contain sensitive information should be appropriately disposed of to stop them from falling into the wrong hands, which could lead to identity theft.
According to the Identity Theft Research Centre, There is a 68 percent increase in data compromise between 2020 and 2021, and credit card fraud is the most common kind of identity theft.
Other research shows identity theft made businesses in the United States lose up to $56 billion in 2021.
Why You Should Dispose of Sensitive Documents
While it is essential to protect your online financial and other digital data, hard documents with similar information should be treated with equal or greater passion. As often, the information they contain leads to identity theft.
Sensitive documents should be kept appropriately; however, there comes a time when keeping such records becomes unnecessary, so they have to be disposed of. Further accumulation of such documents can lead to endless problems even if they are kept in a safe.
How To Properly Dispose of Sensitive Items
Items like mail, credit and debit cards and other sensitive materials should not be disposed of by dumping them into the trash, as someone can easily lift them and harm you using the information they contain.
Here is a list of items with sensitive information and how to destroy them.
● Mail and Other Sensitive Documents
Mail can contain financial statements, health information, credit card offers, tax details, and other information that can be used to steal your identity. The best and most popular way to dispose of all sensitive documents is by shredding using paper shredder.
Shredding can be done using a paper shredder to cut paper into pieces that can not be assembled. Without a shredding machine, you can cut such documents into pieces using simple scissors; this method is more laborious and is only advisable when the documents are limited.
● Credit and Debit Cards
Cutting the expired financial cards might not be enough. Expired cards should be defaced to make the digits on the cards unidentifiable, cut into pieces, and disposed of in separate trash.
Other Ways of Disposing Sensitive Documents
Pulping is done by soaking a document in a solution of water and bleach for 24 hours, then breaking the papers into unidentifiable pieces using a paint mixer.
You can burn sensitive documents in a wood stove, fire pit, and incinerator if your state allows it. Some States have strict rules and regulations regarding fire and do everything according to the law of the land.
Tips For Disposing Sensitive Documents and Items
- Dispose of sensitive items as soon as possible
- When using a paper shredder, use one with minimal environmental impact
- Use a shredding service that is trustworthy.
Identity theft is a big deal; it can take a victim 6 months and 200 hours to bounce back from identity theft. It is better to protect yourself from such headaches by properly disposing of sensitive documents. You can either shred, burn, pulp and deface such items.