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6 Types of Personal Data You Should Bring to a Community Shred-it Event

Posted  June 12, 2018  by  Lynn Brown


If you hear that a Community Shred-it event is coming to your neighborhood, be sure to take advantage of it!  This event provides residents with the opportunity to have their confidential data securely shredded. Protecting personal data this way is so important. 

Identity theft, which is also called identity fraud, occurs when a criminal wrongfully obtains personal data in order to use it fraudulently.

The 2018 Identity Fraud Study by Javelin showed that 16.7 million people in the U.S. were victims of identity theft in 2017, up from 15.4 million in 2017, with $16.8 billion total stolen.

6 Types of Personal Data That Identity Thieves Are in Search Of

1. Personally Identifiable Information (PII)

Any information that identifies someone personally is vulnerable to identity theft. This includes names and addresses, telephone numbers, birth dates, Social Security numbers, birth certificates, and driver’s license numbers.

How to Protect Personally Identifiable Information

Do not post or share PII with any organization or person unless absolutely necessary. Only carry a few pieces of ID and store others in a safe place at home.

2. Junk Mail

According to a recent post, the average U.S. household receives 848 pieces of junk mail a year. Junk mail includes pre-authorized credit card offers, and special offers from insurance companies, associations, and retailers. There is often a computer barcode on these items that contain personal information.

How to Protect Junk Mail

Contact organizations, and ask to be put on a ‘no mail’ list. Never put junk mail into garbage or recycling bins (to avoid information thieves that dumpster dive). 

3. Travel Documents

Travel documents contain a lot of personal information. For example, the barcode on boarding passes contains travel itinerary and frequent flyer information.

How to Protect Travel Documents

Be wary of travel scams. Information thieves will linger in hotel lobbies to steal a passport off the front desk when a distracted traveler checks in. Lock passports in the hotel safe or carry it hidden and close to your body. Never throw travel documents such as boarding passes, car rental documents, and airline tickets, into a public garbage bin or leave them behind.

4. Tax Information

The Javelin study reported that employment-related fraud and tax fraud together accounted for almost two-thirds of all identity theft fraud in 2016.

How to Protect Tax Information

Only keep tax documentation for the required amount of time – generally, 7 years.

5. Passwords and User Names

Some people forget to protect these key pieces of information.

How to Protect Passwords and User Names

Do not post this information or write them on sticky notes left in the open. Be cautious of who is around you when using passwords. For example, thieves often shoulder surf to steal passwords in banks and at cash desks. Make sure no one can see the information. Use a password manager or store in a safe location.

6. Account Numbers

The Javelin study showed that in 2017, account takeover fraud tripled and new account fraud rose 70%.

How to Protect Account Numbers

Keep all account numbers protected and under lock and key. Learn and practice password safety, social media privacy, phishing awareness and account monitoring.

What is most important is that all of this personal data and documentation is protected through its lifetime and securely shredded when no longer needed.

Start Protecting Your Business

To learn more about our Community Shred-it events in your area, visit our website or contact us directly.


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