Top Three Businesses Vulnerable to Dumpster Diving ID Theft

paper shredding to prevent dumpster diving identity theft

While most businesses secure their online properties with firewalls and encryption, there are still some industries that are exposed to the risks of identity theft through old-fashioned dumpster diving. The emphasis on digital security has caused many businesses to let their guard down when it comes to the adequate destruction of confidential documents. As a result, many identity thieves utilize dumpster diving tactics, focusing their activities on certain types of small businesses, hoping to score big with offices that have left gaps in their identity theft protection plan. Not only do businesses risk the identity theft of their customers and clients, they also risk litigation for improper disposal of confidential information: See the federal HIPAA and FATCA guidelines.

Medical and Dental Office Shredding

While most large hospitals incorporate shredding into their identity theft policy, smaller clinics and medical offices may not be taking the necessary steps to protect the identities of their patients.  A Denver area medical office settled for their identity theft violation which involved disposing of unshredded confidential patient information in an unsecured container: Read more about how  HIPPAA takes trash seriously.

Identity thieves will target small clinics and dental offices, looking for negligence in document shredding in the dumpster behind the office building. Another case involved a Georgia medical clinic in which documents containing patient Social Security numbers, bank account information and names and addresses were found freely accessible by anyone willing to climb inside the dumpster. Learn more about this  Dumpster Diving Case.

In some instances, as in this case in Bloomington, proper shredding can actually be an issue of personal safety to customers:  A drug addict stole Margie Kerr’s pain medication after showing up at the grandmother’s front door. According to police, the thief targeted Kerr after finding her prescription records in a dumpster behind her Bloomington drug store.*  What cross-cut office shredders are best for medical practices and pharmacies.

Real Estate Office Shredding

Prospective home buyers fill out credit applications every day in real estate offices, assuming the sensitive information is properly handled. In many cases it is, but in some instances, busy agents may not take the time to shred confidential documents. Often large volumes of credit applications are piled up by a shredder, only to be discarded without being destroyed. A smart identity thief only has to wait until after hours to see what the dumpster behind a real estate office contains.   Automatic Shredding Solutions for Busy Real Estate Offices

Retail Business Shredding

When you apply for a car loan or fill out paperwork for financing at a furniture store, your completed credit applications may not be handled properly either. In one case at a closed North Atlanta car dealer, Social Security numbers, federal tax information and bank account information were found by authorities. Often closed businesses, having kept confidential files for long periods of time, will dump these documents without shredding­­–an illegal act in most states! Use an office paper shredder to keep your business legal.

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