Do you scoff scornfully at your elderly parents who buy into the scaremongering of data protection wholeheartedly? Do you watch as they sit, shredding every single piece of paper and envelope with their name on it? Do you laugh when they panic about the online purchases you make, fearing that your information will be intercepted and used for some other purpose? You know it won’t happen to you … but will it?
Shockingly, according to a report released in February of this year, over 6 million US citizens were affected by identity fraud in 2012. Even more worryingly this increase in fraud has persisted over the last couple of years.
In the UK alone last year there were 123,589 cases of identity fraud, making us the top of the European league when it comes to identity theft. It’s nice to finally be the leader at something, but fraud?
Statistics such as these will understandably concern the majority of people and while it’s relatively easy to be sat at home shredding your own personal information before it goes in the recycle bin, we as citizens, and even as business owners, can’t do anything about the information held by other companies with which we conduct our business.
In 2006, three major high street banks were famously investigated on charges of breaching the data protection act, having not disposed of their customer details sufficiently. In 2007 the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) found a dozen financial institutions had been careless with their client’s data and in 2012 various medical institutions, councils and police forces around the country were found guilty and fined for mishandling sensitive information about members of the public.
It appears on this evidence that the threat of identity theft, despite its profligacy in the news is still not being taken seriously by many trusted institutions. The only way you can ensure your personal data is being managed and disposed of correctly; whether the company have an adequate system in place, or even better, professionalshredding servicesare used, is to ask. If you’re not satisfied with the answer given then it’s your prerogative to take your business elsewhere, to someone that will manage your data ethically and invest in the shredding services and other data protection measures of leading specialist firms such as Iron Mountain. For more information about their shredding services, please visit: http://www.ironmountain.co.uk/services/secure-shredding/
With these services available to business, there is no excuse for a lax attitude towards data or document storage.