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One Man’s Trash Gives Identity Thieves Cash

Did you know that once you wheel your trash bin to the curb, its contents are legally there for the taking? It isn’t household knowledge, but in 1988, the Supreme Court ruled that garbage is public domain. According to the law, once you place that pail or bag at your curb, you are giving up any expectation of privacy to its contents. So a police officer, your nosy neighbor, or an identify thief has every right to rifle through your trash.

What they do with that trash is an entirely different matter. And what identity thieves do is use your identifying information to commit fraud, which ultimately makes them money. There are so many ways in which an identity thief can commit crimes. Almost any identifying data will do - a birth date, social security number, even a cell phone number is all it takes. In 2006 alone, there were 67,000 victims of identity theft, and the numbers just keep going up.

The only way to put the brakes on this growing epidemic is to destroy all paperwork with identifying information on it. Luckily, with the availability of affordable shredders and mobile shredding services, this can be easily accomplished. A good cross or confetti cut shredder will handle the job for the average consumer. Any trash with identifying information on it, even something as seemingly innocuous as your name and address should get the shredder treatment. Junk mail should be destroyed as well, as it is often overlooked, yet a pre-approved credit application is an identity thief’s dream come true.

For consumers who don’t want to go through the time and effort of shredding their own paperwork, or for businesses, a professional shredder service is definitely the way to go. Document destruction services do all the work for you - making the process painless, and they can recycle the shredded documents as well.

With the widespread availability of affordable shredders and professional shred services, identity theft can be nipped in the bud. So be careful what goes in that trash can… you really never know who might go through it.