Secure it! 5 things you need to shred at tax time.

Welcome to tax-time security week! We’ve got three blogs packed with tips and tricks to help protect your identity and secure your business this week, so make sure to check back on Wednesday and Friday for more security insights.

The countdown to tax time is on; maybe you’re ahead of the game and you’ve already submitted, or maybe you’re... let’s say ‘taking the time to do it right’. Either way, security may not be your number one priority, even though the information you’re collecting and sending is some of the most sensitive data that you have.

If you’re doing keeping track of everything you need for your taxes the right way, you’re organizing and categorizing your data for easy filing–but what do you do when that information isn’t relevant anymore? Identity thieves are a persistent lot, willing to sift through garbage and recycling to get the information they need to steal your identity your business. What’s worse: you’re responsible for not only your own data, but also any customer data you’ve collected as well. The timely destruction of old files is a responsibility that you have to yourself, your business (if you run one) and your clients.

This week we’re giving away three powerful Fellowes Shredders to help you make short work of your old data. With that in mind, here’s a top five list of items that need to be shredded before disposing of them.

1. Old financial records.

This one may seem like common sense, but it’s one of the primary sources of identity theft. Your old financial records have everything that thieves need to coerce or ‘socially engineer’ your bank or credit card company into believing that they are you.

2. Expired government IDs or club membership cards.

Old cards can be used as proof of identification, and may be missing newer security features that prevent fraud. It’s easy to alter older identification cards, making them a huge risk to your safety and privacy.

3. Cancelled cheques, bank statements, and ATM receipts.

Anything with your bank information on it is a security risk. You trust the businesses and individuals you interact with, but would you trust an identity thief with the same information? ATM receipts can raise the profile of your personal or business accounts if thieves are looking for a target worth attacking.

4. Insurance forms.

Insurance forms contain a great deal of personal information and a direct connection to your insurance policy. They’re a clear and present danger for identity theft and for insurance fraud. While many insurers won’t hold clients liable for fraud issues that occur due to identity theft, they make recovering your identity even harder.

5. Pre-approved credit card applications.

Even though pre-approved applications need to go through an identity verification process, when combined with other forms of identity theft these applications can be incredibly dangerous. Thieves can open a new account in your name, one that you’re not even aware of until the overdue notices start rolling in. Shield yourself and shred ‘em!


By Adam

February 21, 2012