5 Types of Documents that you MUST destroy...
… in order to keep your identity secure.
Let’s talk about identity theft; the definition of the term, and what the implications are should you fall victim to it.
Identity theft is when someone fraudulently accesses and uses your personal information, for their financial gain.
This personal information could include;
— Your full name
— Your date of birth
— Your Tax File Number
— Your address
— Your medicare number
……… it goes on.
The point is, when someone else gets access to it, they can very easily become you.
What does that mean?
When someone else assumes your identity, they could apply for and receive a loan in your name, for which you subsequently become liable.
When someone else assumes your identity, they could open a bank account, and act illegally, leaving you accountable.
When someone else assumes your identity, they could obtain a credit card, leaving you liable for any payments.
When someone else assumes your identity, they could even tap into your own bank account details, or your business bank account details.
And if you collect personal data on behalf of your clients, and your staff? Then they can access that too, given the right circumstances.
How to protect your identity
Now, let’s talk about the types of paper documentation which you should ALWAYS destroy.
(NB when we say ‘destroy’ we mean securely shred, with a reputable shredding company)
- Drivers Licence.
Got an old one sitting around? Get rid of it. It’s relatively easy for people to use this as ID for bank accounts, credit cards and other financial products.
- Your passport.
Same applies as for Drivers licences – if you insist on keeping them, make sure they are locked up safe and sound, and out of harms way.
- Bank Statements.
One of the oldest identity theft tricks in the book is to steal bank statements from the mailbox, process through a change of address followed by a lost card claim. Then the fraudster requests a new card, it goes to the new address, and they go shopping. On your dime.
- Travel Documents, including boarding passes.
These documents contain a vast array of personal information, plus clearly states when you are going to be away – and that leaves you vulnerable.
Employment contracts, property purchase contracts, business contracts – these documents are full to the brim of personal and very private information, so once a contract is complete, be sure to destroy it completely.
What happens when a fraudster finds him/herself in possession of your personal information?
It might be that the scammer, at this point, needs a little more information, or even a recorded snippet of your name, and/or phone number.
There are a number of ways that they can try to get this information. For example, they might call saying that you have won a large prize, and ask for you to confirm your name or phone number – this will be recorded, and re-used when they need to verify your identity.
It’s vital for you to be vigilant, and keep as much personal, private information just that – private. Destroy it securely and completely once you no longer need it for your own use, or compliance, and sleep better at night knowing your actions and precautions are protecting you.
If you do fall victim to identity theft, please make sure to report it immediately to the police.
Should you want to know more about secure document destruction, please get in touch with us.