May 19, 2022

Data Protection for Spring Cleaning: How Residential Shredding Services Can Help

As more people work from home these days and as the weather gets warmer, many individuals are taking out their cleaning supplies, clearing out their overflowing closets, and discarding unneeded items as part of their yearly “spring cleaning” rituals. According to the American Cleaning Institute (ACI), three in every four Americans engage in spring cleaning each year, many in order to reduce unneeded clutter in their homes or apartments.

In addition to being an optimal season for cleaning, spring and summer are also considered peak moving season in the U.S.  In fact, nearly 70 percent of all moves in the U.S. happen between May and September. The summer of 2022 is expected to be another busy period for moving in the U.S., as a projected 5.95 million homes will be sold by the end of the year.

Milestones and times of transition, such as moving, spring cleaning, starting a business, or finalizing an estate, present optimal opportunities to throw away unneeded paper documents. However, to help protect against identity theft and fraud, considerations should be made to determine whether any of those records contain sensitive information before they go in the trash or recycling bin. 

Beware of “Dumpster Divers”

The threat of consumer identity theft grows greater every year. In 2021 alone, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission received 1.4 million reports of identity theft, which is 25% of all fraud reports—the equivalent of nearly $1.5 billion in losses. Moreover, identity theft reports involving a checking or savings bank account increased 64% from 2020.

Physical data theft through “dumpster diving,” when malicious actors steal personal information discarded in trash and recycling bins, remains a common method of identity theft. Rifling through an unsuspecting person’s trash can easily give criminals access to bank account numbers, heath information, tax records, and even social security information. In fact, just one improperly disposed sensitive document can lead to an identity theft. For example, a thief could use a discarded health bill to contact a victim by posing as a medical debt collector and asking for financial information or a social security number.

Individuals in the process of moving or spring cleaning their home can be especially strong targets for dumpster divers, as they are discarding larger volumes of information. Without taking proper data protection precautions, there is the potential risk for financial loss.

How to Protect Confidential Information and Documents 

Shredding is one the most secure ways to dispose of unneeded documents containing sensitive information. Consumers should shred any information that could easily be exploited for fraud, such as health information, bank account numbers, tax documents, and more.

Consumers can also protect sensitive data during times of transition by locking any documents or hard drives in a safe place. If storing sensitive information digitally, documents should be kept in a folder protected by a strong password.

Why Use a Residential Shredding Service

When looking for the quickest and most convenient options, many might opt to dispose their sensitive documents using a home shredder instead of a professional shredding service. But professional services like Shred-it’s residential shredding program have notable benefits: 

  1. Security: Professional shredding services can help keep access to confidential documents secure from the moment they are discarded to the moment they are recycled. This can help prevent bad actors from gaining access to confidential information even after shredding.
  2. Efficiency: At-home shredders can be slow and may break often. With a professional shredding service, consumers can simply drop off their documents for shredding, potentially saving hours of time and effort.
  3. A wide range of data services: At-home shredders can typically only destroy paper documents, but professional shredding services are equipped to handle many other types of data storage, including hard drives.  
  4. Guaranteed recycling: Documents destroyed with an at-home shredder might accidentally end up in the trash bin. Some shredding programs, like Shred-it’s residential shredding program, help ensure that shredded documents are ultimately recycled.

How Shred-it’s Residential Shredding Program Works 

If you’re looking to improve your work and personal data security, Shred-it is here to help. Our trained information destruction professionals can pick up your confidential documents right from your home with our one-time shredding pick up service, or you can bring your documents to us with our easy-to-use document drop-off service. 

As the largest NAID AAA Certified information destruction company, Shred-it can help you protect your documents during every step of the destruction process. Our team uses a state-of-the-art secure chain of custody system at every touchpoint and all shredded paper is recycled. Once finished, we share a Certificate of Destruction with our customers so they know that their material was destroyed. 

Learn more about how we can help you protect your personal and business data with residential shredding