Each individual and business in Canada receives documents containing sensitive information. This could be statements from banks, credit card companies, insurers, healthcare providers, and more. The information can be used to steal your identity. Tossing documents in the trash, or deleting files, is not enough to protect you.
1. Paper Shredding
Every home or office should have a paper shredder. This should be the cross-cut version, which reduces documents to confetti rather than strips, making it much more difficult to recreate documents. Strips less than 1/32nd of an inch should do, however. You can find various models at your local office supply store providing different levels of security through the fineness of the cuts. If you have a large amount of sensitive documents on a regular basis, consider contracting with reliable paper shredding services in your area.
2. Further Steps
To guarantee protection, you might want to do more than simply shred documents. It’s a good idea to provide two or more bins so that shredded remains can be mixed into multiple bags. Some other document destruction methods include burning the shreds in a metal barrel outdoors. Some companies might mix the paper shreds with glue so they dry into a solid block that can’t be salvaged. You could also saturate them with water and bleach to make them unreadable.
3. Digital Documents
These days you are also likely to have sensitive data if you do any business online or use paperless billing. Filter or sort your files so that you can easily delete all outdated information. For most computers, this merely sends them to a trash folder, so they’ll have to be deleted from there, as well. This may include emails, backup copies, cloud storage, and any documents scanned into PDF or other formats. You may want to consult with the online resources from the Shred-it website.
4. Permanent Deletion
Many people aren’t aware that deleted files still exist on a hard drive until they’re physically overwritten. They can be recovered with the right utilities. If you may need the files, back them up to non-accessible eternal storage devices. Overwrite the files you don’t want. There are utilities for this, also. If you don’t need to save the hard drive, for instance if upgrading to a new computer, you’re better off with simple hard drive destruction. IT services can use powerful magnets to wipe hard drives, a process called degaussing. A hammer, blow torch, or drill will do just as well, so long as the internal disk is unusable.
Document destruction should become a habit for disposing of all electronic or hard copies. Paper shredding services or IT equipment can make this easy. Unfortunately, even your trash is something that has to be secured against thieves.