Did you know that someone in America has their identity stolen every 3 seconds? With more people having access to digital information than ever before, it is imperative that you do everything you can to protect your identity. “Dumpster diving,” or rifling through trash cans and recycling bins for personal information is still one of the most common tactics used by identity thieves. So, when you throw something away with personal information on it, it is not safe unless it is shredded to an unreadable state. According to Maryland’s Office of the Attorney General, it is important to safely shred sensitive documents to help prevent identity thieves from obtaining personal information.
Documents that need to be destroyed include any documents that contain your personal information – utility bills, benefits explanations from your health insurer, bank & credit card statements and anything that contains your name, address, Social Security number, bank account or credit card numbers, passwords or PIN’s, or any other information that could be used to steal your identity or access your funds.
In additional to old hard drives, identity thieves can also find personal information on computer disks and CD’s that they find in the trash. In fact, any digital device that stores data is an area of vulnerability if not destroyed properly. For more tips on preventing identity theft, log onto Maryland’s Attorney General’s website at www.oag.state.md.us/idtheft or e-mail the ID Theft Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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