Privacy Perils: Old School Paper Documents

April 29, 2020
Firm Publication
Helpful Privacy Tips When Working from Home

In today’s digital age we sometimes overlook the fact that hard copy documents still do exist. It is second nature to take for granted the physical security of those documents inside our security-protected offices. That security does not exist at home, particularly when your stir-crazy kids are looking for paper airplane material or coloring books. The simple tip is to be mindful of what you have, mindful of where it is, and mindful of who can get to it.

We also take for granted confidential and secure disposition of hard copy documents through the company’s recycle bins. Tossing those documents in with your household trash, however, is anything but confidential. If you do not already own a shredder, invest in one. Secure destruction of confidential company documents is not discretionary. Often forgotten is that dumpster diving is a real, even if rare, source of identity theft. Previously-balanced bank statements, paid utility bills, old credit card statements, cut up debit cards, discarded medical bills and records, etc., contain a treasure trove of confidential information. With enough personal data a thief can steal your financial information, order “replacement” debit cards or checks, open credit accounts in your name, or otherwise your take on your identity. The cost of a shredder far exceeds the value of what can be lost or the aggravation and frustration of clearing your name and recovering your identity.

Check out our series, Privacy Perils, to learn what steps you can take to guard your personal and company data. For more information about this topic and other cyber security concerns, please contact Bob Brewer, Tony McFarland, Elizabeth Warren or a member of our Privacy & Data Security team.