Journal of an Identity Thief

Opportunity Strikes Identity theft isn’t always targeted. It often begins when an opportunity presents itself, like finding an unshredded credit card application that must have blown off of a garbage truck. What does it reveal? A name, an address and a proposed line of credit. american-express-bank-credit-card-wrinkled-paper-flip-book-direct-marketing-326823-adeevee

The Stake Out Now that I know the address, I can watch the house and find out what day they put out their garbage. If they didn’t shred this credit app, they probably have thrown away other unshredded documents that might have value. I wait until nightfall and start diving.

 

100_0836A Small Prize I find an expired car insurance policy. This indicates that they might have recently switched insurance companies. I will come back over the following weeks to keep digging, but for now I can use this.

 

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Gone Phishin’ Their phone number is on the policy. I make a call pretending to be the insurance company and thanking them for renewing their policy. The victim insists there must be some mistake, that the policy was cancelled. I apologize. I validate with their information: name, address, makes and models of cars covered. I know their policy number. I now seem completely legit. To confirm their cancellation I need their social security number….

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Solution

By shredding everything, even documents that seem to contain nothing important, you can avoid becoming an entry in an identity thief’s diary.

130C Auto Feed Shredder

130C Auto Feed Shredder

 

Selecting the right shredder More About Identity Theft  Best Reviewed Shredders

What Businesses Should Have a Shredder?

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When you walk into an office to do business you may see a copier, fax machine. Where is the shredder? It may seem like an unnecessary question to ask a small business, but under certain circumstances, specific offices should have a shredder to ensure your identity will not be compromised.

Take a look at some of the Shredders for Business

 

Here are the top three businesses where you should see a shredder, and if you don’t, ask if they are shredding:

 

Mortgage Brokers and Realtors

Credit applications in large quantities can easily be mishandled by realtors and mortgage brokers who are mainly focused on processing paperwork and making a sale. Instances of unshredded documents being disposed in dumpsters in back alleys is not uncommon for these types of businesses.  Every mortgage broker and realtor has to develop the discipline to make shredding a step in the application process.

 

Tax Preparers and Accountants

Your entire financial life is in your tax documents. Why would a dumpster diver need to piece together a financial profile when he can take the shortcut by diving behind a tax office?

Tax preparers and accountants, especially around tax time are busy trying to process paperwork as quickly and accurately as they can. Duplicates of tax documents piled on desktops may be an indicator that no shredding is taking place.

Along with all the other questions you may ask a new accountant, ask where they keep their office shredder and if documents with sensitive information are being destroyed. Accumulating documents that need to be shredded may not be a guarantee of security. The tedious process of shredding may lead an office employee given the task to simply throw away paperwork to save time. Auto feed shredders are especially useful for managing large quantities of documents and can help prevent the “to be shredded pile-up.”

Medical Offices

You may not be able to see the shredding process of a large hospital, but your doctor or dentist should have shredders in their offices to stay HIPAA compliant. The dumpster behind a small medical clinic leads to the perfect scavenger hunt for dumpster divers. Medical insurance fraud is on the rise and simple measures taken by medical professionals can ensure your identity protection.