Identity theft is a type of fraud involving stealing money or gaining other benefits by pretending to be someone else. And it’s on the rise.
Recent estimates by the Attorney-General’s Department indicate that identity crime costs Australia upwards of $1.6 billion each year, with the majority (around $900m) lost by individuals through credit card fraud, identity theft and scams.
Once a criminal has the personal information they need, they can apply for a credit card in your name; open a bank or building society account in your name; apply for other financial services; run up debts (e.g. use your credit/debit card details to make purchase) or obtain a loan in your name. They can also apply for housing benefit, new tax credits, income support, job seeker’s allowance, child benefit in your name; apply for a driving licence – the dangers go on.
If that’s not enough to worry you, the San Diego-based Identity Theft Resource Center calculated it takes about 600 hours to restore your reputation after identity theft.
While people are getting better at recognising identity theft, and minimising the damage, the best solution is to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Shred any documents with identifying information on them.
Completely destroy any piece of paper that has your credit card, your social security, or your bank account number on it. Tearing it up isn’t sufficient. NDS uses only comprehensive cross-cut shredding. Document fragments are reduced to tiny fragments, and we provide a security guarantee along with a certificate of destruction.
Be sure to shred pre-approved and other credit offers
Many thieves will use offers to apply for credit in your name at a different address. Call your credit company to opt-out of receiving credit card offers and reduced unwanted mail at the same time.
Never throw your old billing statements and other documents containing important information into the bin. ‘Dumpster divers’ are willing to wade through old coffee grounds and rotten orange peels to get their hands on your data. Cross-cut shredding is vital, but so too is the disposal of the fragments afterwards. At NDS, all fragments from destroyed documents are transferred to a paper recycling facility, where they are recycled into new paper products.
Plan a time to declutter
We live in a time-poor world. Letters, credit card offers etc. build up in the home. NDS recommends planning a time to regularly destroy the build up of sensitive documents. Our pre-paid secura bags are ideal for small offices or the home. It’s an easy and secure way to dispose of your classified and confidential documents: we deliver the bags, you fill them, secure them with the security ties supplied, NDS arranges pick up and handles secure destruction. Not only does this protect your identity, it also saves you hours of time standing over a home or office shredder!
At NDS, we take document destruction and security very seriously. Contact us today to find out how we can help you to safely and securely destroy critical documents to protect you from problems like corporate fraud, identity theft and industrial espionage.