Posted on October 23rd, 2012 No comments
What happens when you are out with your friends on a Saturday evening, enjoying the brisk cool breeze of autumn and a sweet pumpkin ale at your favorite local tavern when you seek to buy a round of drinks… You hand over your credit card to the bartender only to find out that your credit card comes back as a failure to respond and you swore to yourself that you paid that bill just last week. It’s impossible! Or is it?
Every minute about 19 people fall victim to identify theft, according to TransUnion.com. Prevention is vital for the safety of you and your family, as well as your personal assets. It has become easier and easier for criminals to steal a person’s identity because of increased technological advances. Yet, not being aware of precautions of your old paperwork, could easily slip into the hands of those who prey on vulnerable people. Your identity is your life, don’t let others misrepresent you.
A common misconception with identity theft is that this would never happen to you. The problem with this way of thinking is that when you’re caught off guard, it most likely will happen to you. What is a proper precaution for identity theft? Using MicroShred’s shredding services. MicroShred, LLC is a confidential and secure shredding company serving Southern Florida. They can destroy old documents and retain peace of mind. Whether you have old documents with your social security number, name, address, or license number, MicroShred.com would be able to rid of these documents in a proper way, thus resulting in less chances of identity theft.
It takes an average victim approximately $500.00 and at least 30 hours to solve each identity theft crime, according to TransUnion.com. This brings up another valid point, which is your time! Your time is the greatest asset you own. In order to preserve as much time (and headaches) as possible, one should deter themselves from the vultures of this crime. The benefits of shredding your old paperwork outweighs the flaws. The use of MicroShred’s services can be time saving, problem solving, and offer true peace of mind.
In conclusion, the realities of identity theft can be ugly, stressful, and downright annoying. An average family doesn’t have the extra time and money to hunt down criminals of identity theft. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Shred old paperwork and documents and avoid ID thieves. It’s your life. Take control of it.
Posted on October 21st, 2012 No comments
MIAMI – Tax refund fraud has kept federal prosecutors in South Florida busy as the crime continues to grow in popularity. Just this year, two former NFL players pleaded guilty to taking part in tax refund fraud.
“Identity theft, tax refund scams are really no less than a tsunami that is barreling towards us,” said U.S. attorney Wifredo Ferre.
For victims like South Dade’s Lauri King, waiting for help from the Internal Revenue Service is getting harder. She still doesn’t know when the agency may get around to mailing out her refund.
“I think they are overwhelmed,” King said of the IRS. “I think this is something they never planned for, never expected to happen.”
King filed her tax refund seven months ago. She expected to get her refund a few months later, but continues to wait for the IRS to finally act.
“Just two weeks ago, I mentioned to my husband, did we ever get our IRS refund and he said, ‘No,’” King said. “So we called and actually got to talk with a person and she informed us that we had an issue with identity theft.”
Miami has the highest fraudulent tax return rate in the nation according to Ferre.
“Over 74,000 potentially fraudulent returns filed in Miami resulting in $280 million in bogus returns in 2010,” Ferre said. “The city of Miami per capita numbers of fraudulent returns based on id theft was 46 times the national average…this is absolutely outrageous.”
While the IRS investigates an estimated $5.2 billion dollars worth of phony tax refunds nationwide, tax payers like Lauri King are running out of patience while she waits for her tax refund.
“I feel like I’m nobody; I feel like whatever happens, happens,” King said. “It’s a very defeating feeling, you work all year long, you’re one little bit of change you get can back to have a little freedom with. Nope, just a name, just a number that’s all.”
Several weeks ago CBS4 News asked the IRS how many identity theft victims were still waiting to get their tax refunds? The agency said it’s not releasing that information publicly and wouldn’t even let CBS Miami go inside its Plantation Customer Service Center with a camera to talk with taxpayers who are critical of the way the agency’s treating them.
The agencies local customer service offices are so crowded, warning signs are often posted before noon that they don’t have any more time to meet with taxpayers.
“I don’t see anything to assist them with getting a refund or getting the credit processed and going foward in any kind of expedited basis,” Miami tax lawyer Kevin Packman said.
Packman said federal prosecutors are making progress arresting the scammers, but he believes more needs to be done to help the victims and warns victims like Lauri, “Could still be dealing with this somewhere for 12-18 months.”
CBS4’s Al Sunshine asked if he’s heard of people dealing with this for more than a year? Packman answered “Yes, definitely.”
The IRS insists it’s changing procedures, tightening up its electronic processing systems to avoid more scams next season. But what about getting tax fraud victims’ legitimate refunds back this year?
In a prepared statement, the IRS said:
“Refund times can vary depending on the complexity of the case, and we understand the frustration that taxpayer may have that have been identity theft victims. Along with taking steps toward faster resolution of identity theft cases, we are continuously improving the way we track and report on the status of all identity theft cases. We believe these improvements will reduce the time to work identity theft cases in coming filing seasons so that honest taxpayers will receive their refunds sooner. Additionally, better tracking and reporting means that we can spot – and correct – any flaws in the system more quickly.” – Michael Dobzinski, IRS Media Relations Specialist
Still, with bills mounting and the holiday shopping season right around the corner, victims like Lauri think seven months is way too long for the IRS to get her refund back to her.
“The working public needs help to resolve issues like this,” King said. “It’s hard enough going to work every day and now you’re having your money stolen on top of it and then you have to prove your identity to make sure you’re the correct person. I don’t know how far it’s gone, is it just the IRS check, is it other things? Where does it stop, how does the IRS stop it from happening again? Where does it end, does it happen next year, does it happen a year after that?”
A recent Inspector Generals’ report warned these scams could cost Uncle Sam $21 billion dollars in fraudulent tax refunds over the next 5 years. The IRS continues to ask victims to be patient while they wait for their legitimate refund checks to be mailed out.
But it still declines comment on what it’s doing to make sure next year taxpayer refunds end up with the people who earned them, and not the criminals who’ve been so successful stealing them.
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Posted on September 16th, 2008 No comments
To extract the scrap value from office paper, recycling companies use unscreened, minimum wage workers, to extensively sort the paper under unsecured conditions. The >acceptable< paper is stored for indefinite periods of time until there is enough of a particular type to sell. The sorted paper, still intact, is then baled and sold to the highest bidder, often overseas, where it may be stored again for weeks or even months until it is finally used to make new products.
There is no fiduciary responsibility inherent in the recycling scenario. Paper is given away or sold and, by doing so, a company gives up the right say in how it is handled. There is, also, no practical means of establishing the exact date that a record is destroyed. In the event of an audit or litigation, this could be a legal necessity. And, further, if something of a private nature does surface, the selection of this unsecured process could be interpreted as negligent. For all these reasons, the choice of recycling as a means of information destruction is undesirable from a risk management perspective.
If environmental responsibility is a concern, materials may be recycled after they are destroyed or a firm can contract a service that will destroy the materials under secure conditions before recycling them. Any recycling company that minimizes the need for security has its own interests in mind and should be avoided.
Posted on July 28th, 2008 No comments
There are a number of factors that must be considered before deciding to shred documents in-house or using a shredding company. These include :
- The investment that you will need to make in shredding equipment
- The sensitivity of the information (employees should not have access to certain information)
- The value of those who will spend time shredding
There are many benefits to hiring MicroShred to handle your shredding needs. These include enhanced security, consistent and reliable shredding practices and verified compliance with information protection regulations. In addition, our service will cost you 3 to 5 times less than shredding in-house when you take into consideration the cost of the equipment, labor cost, office space, maintenance, power cost and disposal cost. Plus your employees can focus on their real job, not shredding.
Internal Personnel Should Not Be Responsible For Destroying Certain Information!
Common sense dictates that payroll information and materials that involve labor relations or legal affairs should not be entrusted to lower level employees for destruction. It has been established, time and again, that low wage employees often have the economic incentive to capitalize on their access to it. The only acceptable alternatives are to have the materials destroyed under the supervision of upper management or by a carefully selected, high security service, such as MicroShred.