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3 Bits Of Confidential Data You’re Just Giving Away

Most of us like to think we’re very careful with our personal data. A lot of us now have a small personal shredder at home, so that we can get rid of our bank statements and bills properly. Or even better, we do everything online to avoid the paper trail altogether. For the most part, this is a great start to keeping your data safe – but there is still room for improvement. At Hungry Shredder, we find there are 3 key things people do that put their personal data in danger – usually without realising it.

  

Bank Details

 

Ok, so most people know not to throw away bank statements, but what do you do with the letters the bank sends you? You know, the ones about the new credit card you could get or their change in interest rates. They don’t have anything confidential on them, right? Wrong. These documents have your name and address on them. Ok, what’s the harm? That’s freely available information. And while that’s true, what that document gives criminals is enough information to impersonate you. With that letter, they know your name and address, which bank you are with and even a rough idea of your credit rating. With this, they can call your bank, pretend to be you and take out that credit card or loan in your name. So no matter what the purpose of the letter, or if it looks like it’s harmless, make sure you destroy it properly.

  

Digital Data

 

When people think of data security, they think of securing their networks to prevent breaches, or of destroying their paperwork. But the thing a lot of people miss is the third step – destroying your digital data once it’s host becomes obsolete. You see, even if you delete a file from your computer, it’s never really gone. Instead it’s nestled deep inside your hard drive memory, just waiting to be retrieved with a piece of inexpensive software. So when you upgrade your computer, or replace it because it’s died, all of that information is still there. Every file you’ve ever saved, every password you’ve ever entered and every piece of information you’ve ever put in, all saved on your hard drive. By throwing this away or selling it on, you’re giving away a lot of highly sensitive digital data. Students from MIT conducted an experiment on 130 ‘formatted, wiped clean’ computers they bought on e-bay, and by using a simple piece of freely available software were able to retrieve over 60 credit card numbers, along with health records, bank statements and other private documents. So instead of recycling or selling old hard drivers, don’t take the risk, shred it.

 

Social Media

 

This is where things start to get a little scary. Social media has opened up the world, connecting people from all corners of the globe and encouraging them to communicate. For many people, it has also become a platform to complain on. While this might seem harmless and even cathartic, people can give away a lot of personal information without meaning to when they are angry. Information such as where they bank, where they shop, places they go regularly (and therefore will be out of the house), how long they have been a customer/account holder. They can also reveal personal information that could well be the answers to security questions on their accounts – such as what their favourite pet was as a child of their first car. All of this incidental information is gold to both cyber and real world criminals, who use it to build up a picture of the victim before they launch their attack. Unfortunately, there is no real way to prevent this. All you can do is be careful about what you reveal online, and to who.

 

At Hungry Shredder, we are specialists in destroying sensitive data, whether it be on paper or a hard drive. Our courier collection and drop-off services make it quick and easy for you to dispose of your confidential data safely, and our certificate of destruction service provides proof that your information is completely destroyed. For more information, or to order your shredding sacks, get in touch with us today.

 

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An Organised Office Is A Happy Office – Managing The Annual Clear Out

A while ago we talked about the fact that clean desks make a happier office. How they boost productivity, encourage teamwork and improve morale. Now imagine all those benefits, but spread out across the entire office. If clean desks can make your office worker happy, then providing them with a wider office space that is clean and organised can have numerous benefits, both for your employees and your business. De-cluttering and organising your office can make it easier for you to find things, provide clean audit trails for paperwork and remove the risk of data theft. This month, we bring you a quick guide to managing your office clear out, with some tips to keep your office organised going forward.

Block Out Some Time & Set Up

 

Clearing out a cluttered, disorganised office takes time. It’s not the sort of thing you can do in pieces across the week, because everything will just start getting cluttered again as you go on. So, if you are committed to organising your office, block out some time to get it done. If you work in an office with other people, a weekend or evening is ideal, as there won’t be a lot of people around to disturb you. Now get yourself set up. The ideal way to organise is to completely empty your office space, as it’s much easier to control the flow of what goes back in where when the room is empty. However, for many people that’s just not practical, so instead choose which area you will focus on first and how you will move around the room. Get yourself some heavy-duty bin bags and dive in.

Sort

 

It’s amazing the sorts of odd things you find in an office when you really look. Balls of string (when you can’t fathom why you’d need one), forgotten boxes of stationary, piles of paperwork that’s long out of date, even old food containers and piles of receipts. As you’re going through, sort everything into piles. We find ‘keep’ and ‘bin’ to be quite effective, but you might want to be more specific and have a pile for stationary, one for paperwork to keep and one for paperwork to shred, for example. Once you’ve worked through the section and put everything in piles, you can clean the area and start to put things back in a logical order, or place them in another section of the office if that’s where they belong. Repeat this process around your entire office, and you will end up with a cleaner, tidier office and a large pile of things to dispose of. If it’s normal office rubbish, you can throw this away and forget about it. For the paperwork, make sure it is all in a sack and call your local secure shredding facility to help you dispose of it safely.

 

Install A Shredding Bin

 

Believe it or not, this one small change will have a big impact on how tidy and secure your office remains once you’ve cleared it out. All you need is a simple bin lined with one of our shredding sacks, and a sign. This enables you to have a dedicated place for employees to dispose of confidential paperwork, separate from the oh so inviting lure of the recycling bin. You can arrange to have your sack collected and emptied as often as you need to, and Hungry Shredder will take away the full sack to be shredded in one of our secure shredding faculties. The resulting scraps are then sent for recycling, so you are not only holding up your data security obligations, but your environmental ones too.

 

Buy Some Supplies

 

The biggest mistake a lot of people make is going out and buying a load of new organisational supplies, and then finding that the solutions don’t work when they’ve actually tidied up their workspace. Buying supplies before you’ve established what you have to keep and where it needs to live is just asking for more clutter and confusion. So, it’s the last thing you should do. Once you’ve de-cluttered and cleaned, lay out everything you know you need to keep in piles. Put away anything that already has a home or a system, and then decide what you need based on what you have left. If you have a lot of documentation, maybe look into buying a filing cabinet or investing in a digital document management solution. If you find yourself with a lot of letters – and in-tray. By buying only the supplies you know you need, you save yourself space, money and a lot of aggravation.

 

It might sound simple, but organising your office can make a huge difference not only to the performance of your employees, but to the way your office operates as well. Slick, organised offices tend to have less trouble with paperwork and audits, less friction between employees and a healthier atmosphere for everyone who visits. At Hungry Shredder, we specialise in helping you manage your paper waste, keeping your office secure and free of rubbish. For more information, get in touch with our team today for your free consultation.

 

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Recycling Your IT – What, Why And How?

We talk a lot about the benefits of shredding and recycling your documentation. It’s secure, environmentally friendly and a great way to keep up with green initiatives. But have you ever thought about what happens to your computer and IT equipment when you no longer need it? When you just throw it away, it ends up in a landfill site or incinerator, adding to the 3,140,000 tons of e-waste we produce each year. But just because you have no use for a computer anymore, doesn’t mean it can’t be useful to someone else. Not to mention the security risks that come with throwing away hard drives full of personal, confidential information. So how does recycling your IT help protect your business and the environment?

Why Recycle IT Equipment?

 

Think about how much information is stored on your hard drive. Every file you’ve ever saved, every search you’ve ever made and every password you’ve ever typed. Even your deleted files are still there, buried deep in the memory banks of your computer. If you just threw all of that away, you could be putting it straight in the hands of criminals, who will use it to defraud your business, steal from you or even impersonate you and your company. Recycling your computer equipment starts with destroying it – breaking it down into pieces so small that they cannot be reassembled, so you can be sure that your data is safe.

It’s also a way your business can contribute to a cleaner environment. Computer equipment recycling and refurbishing is an important part of an organisation’s sustainable waste strategy. Businesses are encouraged to dispose of their IT equipment in an environmentally responsible way – in other words, recycling. There are even governmental regulations in place to deal with hazardous electronics (think the WEEE directive) and multiple ways of disposing of other electronics safely. These can then be reused and turned into new equipment, replacing the need for even more natural resources.

 How Is IT Equipment Recycled?

 

Fortunately, IT equipment is relatively easy to recycle, if slightly time consuming. When full machines like laptops, servers or PC’s are sent for recycling, they are first picked apart and stripped of all the useful whole components, like motherboards and microchips. One everything has been salvaged, the rest of the machine can then be fed through an industrial grade shredder, like ours. The resulting shreds are a mixture of materials, and these are sent to a recycling plant, who separate them out using large magnets and other sorting devices. This way the plastics can all be sent to be melted and repurposed, the metals can be sorted and sent away and the glass can be broken down and melted to make new glass.

If you don’t have a full machine to recycle, but instead a hard drive to destroy, we can help you there. Many people choose to sell on their old computers for parts, removing the hard drives first so they aren’t giving away any data. This approach is great for data security, but essentially leaves you with a hunk of metal and no use for it. If this happens, you can bring the hard drive to our secure shredding facilities, to be shredded and recycled into new computer parts.

What Can Be Recycled?

 

The good news is – almost anything. Most parts of a basic computer set up and IT system can be recycled, from monitors and PCs to servers and laptops. Even peripherals such as printers, scanners, telephones, mice, keyboards and hard drives.  Some types of computing equipment will need particular expertise to recycle, like PCs, which tend to have a lot of heavy metal in their circuitry. From these elements, recycling teams can salvage plastic, ferrous metals, non-ferrous metals, electronic boards, glass and even gold.

Of course, you may not need to recycle your IT systems that often, so you may not know exactly what you need to do, or who you need to talk to. For more information on shredding and recycling your computer and IT equipment, or advice on what to do next, get in touch with us today.

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Keeping The Data Elves Happy This Christmas

Tis the season to be jolly, to shop and to eat, to make friends and reconnect with old ones. It’s also the time that Santa and his crew are busy buying and wrapping presents for all the mums, dads, brothers, sisters and friends out there. But did you know that Santa has a secret squad, known only as the Data Elves, who spend the months leading up to Christmas whizzing around trying to make sure your personal data stays safe every time you type it into a shopping site? Well, this year the Data Elves contacted us directly, as they have some tips to help your data stay safe and keep them happy this year.

 

Be Careful With Your Receipts

November and December are what we like to call the ‘month of the killer receipts’. That’s because even if you don’t usually keep your receipts, Christmas causes people to hoard them. We want to make sure we have the receipt to take our Christmas lights back if they are faulty, and we squirrel away receipts for gifts just in case the gift isn’t wanted, or turns out to be a duplicate. But while the Data Elves say that it’s a good idea to keep these receipts, your wallet might not be the best place for them. With all the flurry of Christmas shopping and constant opening and closing, receipts can easily fall out of your wallet and find their way into someone else’s hands. A receipt might not seem like much, but it contains a lot of information about you that can be used for criminal activities, including defrauding stores into giving fake refunds. Store your receipts somewhere safe at home – like a small lockbox or a file, and make sure you shred them when the warranty has run out or the gift has proven a hit.

 

Stay Vigilant Online

Every year, the number of people doing their shopping online goes up, and this year is no exception. In fact, only 10% of people say they don’t do any of their shopping online at Christmas. With mobiles forming 80% of internet searches, online shopping has never been so easy. Needless to say, this is fairly common knowledge, and cyber criminals will use this information to their advantage. Try to avoid shopping online in public places this Christmas – most public Wi-Fi hotspots don’t encrypt their data, making it simple for criminals to pluck your information from the coffee shop next door. You should also be extra vigilant about what links you visit too. The Data Elves have discovered that many URL’s are shrunk to fit mobiles, which is great for usability, but not so much for security. It’s much harder to tell that a URL is fake when it has been shortened to a bit.ly link, because you can’t look out for the obvious clues like misspellings or odd domains. And because mobile devices don’t have the robust anti-virus software computers do, they are much more susceptible to malware infections and viruses. If you’re ever in doubt, type in the full link to where you want to go in your search bar and go there manually. It might take a little more time, but it’s worth it to save your device from infection.

 

Don’t Click On The Links!

As we have already mentioned, the Data Elves have noticed that more and more people are shopping online this Christmas, and that means millions of order confirmations are being sent to inboxes across the UK. But let us ask you this – do you know exactly what you’ve ordered, from where? It’s a busy time of year all round, and that means people are less guarded when it comes to emails like this. So scammers are capitalising on this by creating fake emails based around internet ordering. These will often say that there has been a problem with your order, or your payment was declined, providing you with a link to click on and re-enter your information. At passing glance to a busy person this will seem credible, when in reality they have just handed their credit card numbers and address to a criminal. Make sure you are extra careful when clicking in links in emails this month. If you receive an email like this, the Data Elves recommend not clicking on the link, but instead going to your web browser and visiting what you know to be the genuine site. If nothing is amiss with your order there, report the email to their fraud team and delete it.

 

Christmas is a time for happiness and joy and no one wants that to be ruined by a huge credit card bill turning up – especially when you didn’t spend the money. So make sure you take some basic steps to stay safe this Christmas, make sure the Data Elves stay happy and your data stays safe where it belongs. For more information about keeping your data safe, or to order some shredding sacks to destroy your personal information, get in touch today.

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What Information Do Identity Thieves Crave?

For most of us, identity theft is one of those awful things that we hope will never happen to us. We hear stories about it all the time, but we think ‘it won’t ever happen to me’. And it probably won’t, until it does. The problem is that there is so much information out there that it can be difficult to figure out what it worth protecting and what can safely be thrown in the bin. So we wanted to show you just some of the information that identity thieves are looking for – and some of it might not be what you think.

Your Hobbies, Club Memberships Or Employer 

Let’s start off with an unusual one. Most people aren’t quite as careful about protecting their gym membership as they are their more private data, but this can be a key piece of information for any identity thief just starting their hunt. By finding out what organisations you belong to, places you go to do your hobbies or the name of your employer, a thief can use this to impersonate you when speaking to the organisations to gain more information. Worse still, they could employ it in various phishing scams, impersonating the club, organisation and employer. The basic idea behind this is that people are much more likely to respond to a phone call or email scam when they appear to be from the group they belong to. This data is an easy target for them, as we rarely protect these details as well as we should.

Your Bank

At this stage, the thief isn’t looking for specifics, they just want to know where you hold your financial accounts. This is for a similar reason to the above – to leverage this information when pretexting (pretending to be you) or phishing. The thieves will often study how your financial institution communicate with its customers in order to make their scam appear more genuine. In general, be incredibly wary of ANY email that asks you to provide additional information, even if it looks real. Genuine banks will never ask you to type you card details, even in part. Always play it safe by visiting a branch or calling their helpline, as they will quickly be able to tell you if there is a genuine problem.

Your Passport Number

A simple passport number, when combined with an illegal database can provide thieves with a wealth of information on you. Your passport number can reveal your full name, date of birth, place of birth, nationality and more. All gold to a data thief looking to steal your identity. If your physical passport is stolen, the consequences mount up quickly, with the thieves able to open up accounts internationally and a lot of complex problems for you to deal with. The sad thing is, many people still just throw away old passports, meaning thieves just need to sift through some rubbish to get their hands on a goldmine of information.

Your Address

While physical addresses are rarely used as a medium for phishing scams anymore, there is still the risk of receiving ‘bait mail’ through the post. There is not much you can do about this, except be savvy and shred any junk you do receive. What is far more sinister is that your physical address coupled with, say your full name and date of birth gives a thief the ability to initiate a change of address with your providers, effectively rerouting all of your post (and the information within) to a location of your choice. They could of course simply visit your home to steal post, rubbish or information directly from you.

How Do You Protect Your Data?

While all of that sounds very scary (believe me, we have nightmares about it!) it is relatively easy to prevent. You simply need to be cautious about what information you give out, and make sure you aren’t throwing personal information in the bin. Instead of just chucking junk mail in the bin, make sure every piece goes through a shredder, so no one can get their hands on your address. If you don’t have a shredder, get in touch with us and we can provide you with convenient shredding sacks. All you need to do is put all your sensitive information into it, and we will shred it for you in a secure location. For more information or to arrange your own shredding sacks, get in touch with us today.

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How Many Documents Does It Take To Change A Sack?

At Hungry Shredder, we are all about making sure your sensitive information and documents are disposed of securely, without the hassle and mess of feeding them into the home or office shredder. We’ve helped hundreds of business owners and home residents stay on top of their shredding needs and protect themselves against identity theft, fraud and financial loss, all by supplying a simple sack. But how does a sack do all of this, and how often do you really need a new one?

What Is A Shredding Sack?

A shredding sack is pretty much what it says on the tin (well, sack). Our jumbo ‘drop-off’ paper sacks are large, sealable storage sacks that can easily and discreetly fit into your home or business. Thanks to a ‘block bottom’ they are completely free standing, so they can be stored anywhere from next to your desk to in a cupboard or large drawer. The sacks are incredibly durable, standing up to everyday use and can support a large amount of weight (around 10kg per sack). Each sack is 60cm tall, 48cm wide and 13cm deep, allowing for the perfect storage of paper before shredding. All you have to do is fill it, seal it and arrange a convenient drop-off time that suits you. Our unique shredding sacks have been manufactured to be completely recyclable, so they can be shredded along with their contents.

Our ‘collection’ sacks are slightly different, made out of extremely tough plastic with a permanent seal for ultimate security.  Similar to our ‘drop off’ sacks, all you have to do is fill it, seal it but then for even greater convenience, arrange a collection time that suits you and have it picked up from your home or office.

So Why Do I Need One? 

That’s all well and good, but why do you need a shredding sack in the first place? Well, have you ever spent hours bent over an office shredder, feeding in page after page and staring longingly at the clock? Sadly, this is a reality for many businesses and home owners who have all sorts of confidential information written down. Sensitive information like addresses, names, credit card information or bank details all need to be disposed of correctly in order to avoid identity theft or, if you’re in business, fulfil your legal obligations. But instead of struggling with the shredder, Hungry Shredder has a better option. Just order some of our shredding sacks through our website, fill them up and let us do the rest. Your secure shredding sacks can be collected directly from your home or business, or you can drop them off at our convenient secure shredding centre. The bags are then fed through an industrial grade, hyper secure shredding machine to ensure complete destruction, and you are provided with a certificate of destruction to prove it. So instead of wasting hours shredding your documents yourself, spend seconds putting them in a bag and know that your data is safe and will be completely destroyed. 

How Often Do I Need To Order A New Sack?

How often you will need a new sack for your paperwork depends very much on how much paper you use and throw away. For residential users, a single shredding sack can last upwards of a month, especially for those who have a lot of their paperwork available online now. But for a business one sack often doesn’t last that long. If you have a shredding sack next to your desk, or by your office waste bin, you will find yourself throwing all sorts of miscellaneous paperwork in there because it is easy, convenient and secure. Not to mention it will be recycled instead of sent to landfill. If there are a lot of people in your business, a single sack sometimes won’t even last a day! So gauge the size of your business and maybe even do a test – ask everyone to put all the paperwork they would normally throw away on a particular day onto one desk or in a specified box instead, and see just how much you are accruing in a day. This gives you a good benchmark for how many sacks you will need for the office, and how regularly you will need to order new ones. Remember, each sack holds 10Kg (or 22lb) of paper, which is equal to around 600 sheets.

For more information on our shredding services, or our jumbo paper sacks, just get in touch with one of the team today or visit our website to order yours today.

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Is The Paper Receipt Becoming A Thing Of The Past?

No matter how ‘paperless’ we try to go, the world will still keep trying to throw paper into our lives. Case in point – every time you go shopping you will be given a printed paper receipt, varying in length depending on how much you’ve bought. Our wallets are purses are often bursting with reams of paper, many of which end up going through the shredder without a second glance. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was a way to record our purchases without such a waste of paper?

What’s The Real Cost Of The Humble Receipt?

In the UK, over 11 billion receipts are printed every single year. Creating this number of receipts uses over 250 million gallons of oil, 10 million trees and 1 billion gallons of water each year. It’s a completely unsustainable model for something that largely goes unwanted or unused. For many people receipts are a sure fire way to bloat your wallet, being cleared out and shredded in a monthly (or yearly for some) purge without even being looked at. Very few people need receipts for everything they purchase, instead preferring to only keep receipts relating to major purchases – and even then only until the warranty has run out. But despite this, receipts have remained a staple for all retailers – an expected result of spending money. Even if a retailer asks you ‘do you want the receipt?’ as many do nowadays – that receipt still prints even if you say no. They just throw it away instead of giving it to you. So in a bid to revolutionise the buying process and protect our environment, there have been some really interesting trials taking place.

Testing The Waters

receipt2As we speak, retail giant Tesco are trialling a system where an e-receipt is sent to customers, instead of being printed out at the till point. This allows the customer to keep a digital log of the purchase and eliminates the need for paper receipts. Tesco are not the first to trial this new system, which has retailers send a digital receipt to a customer’s email address or a specifically designed mobile phone app called ‘Tap And Tag’. This app can be linked with contactless cards, so that when the card is used the receipt is sent directly to the app without prompting. The system could also be modified to work with loyalty cards for individual stores, which have this information filed already. There is also an option for a ‘short receipt’ for those who need it, which is a tenth of the size of a standard receipt.

Apple stores were the trailblazer for this system, which they began using in 2005. Debenhams and TopShop followed suit in 2015, while still keeping the option for a paper receipt to be printed. Retailers suggest that the system allows customers to keep all of their receipts in one place, making shopping easier and more convenient. They also mention that the data cannot be used for marketing or other purposes, as all data is stored anonymously. By using the ‘Tap and Tag’ or other digital receipt systems, retailers have found that time is saved at the till, waste and paper consumption is reduced and customers enjoy a more relaxed shopping experience.

But is this the end of the paper receipt? According to many experts, not quite. People still enjoy seeing the money they have saved and the ability to check that they haven’t been overcharged for anything in the store. Many businesses still require paper receipts for expenses, so paper receipts will still be needed by many. At Hungry Shredder we understand the issues around paper consumption, which is why we do our best to reduce the impact you (and we) have on the environment. Our secure shredding service not only helps you run an efficient, eco-friendly office, but all paper and materials shredded by us are recycled and turned into new materials, saving trees and other natural resources.  For more information or to find out about our eco-friendly shredding solutions, get in touch today.

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Understanding Business Identity Theft

Think that identity theft only hits individuals or the elderly? Think again. Thieves and criminals are targeting small and medium sized businesses all across the UK and the USA for quick and easy profit, with devastating consequences. In an age where digital information is freely available it’s a serious risk, so you need to know the facts before your business becomes the next victim of corporate identity theft.

What Is Corporate Identity Theft?

Identity crimes have evolved far beyond a crime of opportunity by petty thieves and drug users – it’s now a preferred criminal activity turned big business with more profit rolling in every year. Criminals ranging from street gangs to drug cartel to organised crime syndicates have actively embraced identity theft and cybercrime as key money making enterprises with low risk. Through this, thieves have learnt that business identities can also be stolen, and unsuspecting businesses can be very easy targets. But before we explain how corporate identity theft works, we need to explain exactly what it is. You see, just because a business has suffered a data breach doesn’t mean that their identity has been stolen. Data breach doesn’t automatically mean identity theft. Instead, like it’s consumer counterpart, corporate identity theft involves actual impersonation of the business itself. In fact, the term ‘corporate identity theft’ is misleading in itself, as corporations aren’t the only business entities victimised by this crime. Any type of business or organisation of any size or legal structure, from sole proprietorships, to partnerships and limited companies, government bodies, schools, trusts and non-profits can all be targeted by identity thieves.

Why Businesses Are Good Targets

When it comes to identity theft, criminals are faced with 2 avenues – individual or corporate. For most, the individual route is left to small time thieves, while the more professional, ambitious breed will go after corporates, non-profits and businesses.  But to understand why businesses make good targets for identity theft, you need to look at the gains and profits from the criminals point of view. For example, businesses tend to have:

Bigger Bank Accounts 

Business customers routinely maintain much larger bank account balances than your average consumer, and for good reason. Cash flow is a huge issue for all businesses, so the smart business owner will build up a buffer of cash in reserve. The average small business account may have between £5000 and £10,000 in it at any one time, with larger businesses sometimes keeping tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds in their accounts. When you compare this to the average consumer account of around £200-£500, it’s not hard to see why businesses make an attractive target. 

Flexible Payment Terms 

Because of their larger purchases, many businesses enjoy flexible payment terms or credit, allowing them to order and obtain goods or services before paying for them at a later date. For a criminal, this means they can make large purchases without paying a thing and disappear before the payment is due. They can also avoid the risk of early detection that comes with using a stolen credit card of cheque when the order is placed. 

Minimal Security

Small businesses are especially vulnerable, as many don’t have the most robust security in place. If they don’t have their own IT department, or they are overrun with tasks, keeping up the security needed can be challenging, and that’s what criminals are counting on. Targeted attacks exploit holes in the software smaller businesses use, while intercepting or stealing information in letters can give them all the information they need to start imitating your business.

Easily Available Information

The scary thing is, business identity thieves don’t even need to steal much of the information they need to impersonate a business, because so much of it is freely available now. Just go to Companies House and see how much information is freely available about your business thanks to the information age. All a criminal has to do is steal a few pieces of specific, targeted information and they’re away.

 

One of the ways corporate identity thieves get those last pieces of information is by accessing documents that have been thrown away or improperly stored. Bank details, for example, that have been put in the wrong place present an enormous risk, which is why it’s so important to stay on top of your secure document disposal. If you need help handing your shredding get in touch with us today for a free consultation.

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Taking Shredding Digital – Shredding Hard Drives

We talk a lot about shredding confidential documents and other paperwork, but do you ever think about the other things in your life that contain sensitive information? In the modern age we tend to keep a lot of information on our phones and computers, but give little thought to what data stays on the device after a ‘system reset’. Amazingly, it’s much more data than you would think. That’s why you should always remove your hard drive before you sell your old computer or laptop.

Why Shred Your Old Hard Drives?

Shredding a hard drive is the only way to ensure that the data on it can never be retrieved (short of investing in a very large magnet). Many people think that if you format your hard drive, you are erasing the data from it. This isn’t the case – as this only clears the re-writable areas. There are still many areas of your hard drive that formatting doesn’t cover. To illustrate this, a group of students from MIT bought 258 used, formatted hard drives on eBay. Using some basic, freely available forensic software they were able to recover over 5000 credit and debit card numbers, medical records, social security numbers and other highly sensitive information. Running a magnet over your hard drive won’t wipe it clean either, as you would need a magnet with a pull force of at least 450 pounds to have any effect. But with a pull force like that you would only be successful because you’d have destroyed everything else in the room as well.

How Does It Work?

hard drive shreddingUnfortunately, hard drives won’t go through your average office shredder! Instead you need professional grade equipment to destroy your hard drive completely. But unless you are a big office that goes through computers really quickly, you probably won’t have lots of hard drives building up just waiting to be destroyed. So instead, you will need to order a one off hard drive destruction service from your local, friendly shredding company. It’s not an expensive service, and often the shredding service will offer collection of free postage for you. Once the hard drive has been collected, it will be taken away to a secure shredding facility and destroyed. Our robust metal shredders are specifically designed to tackle tough electronics, so the actual shredding process will look something like this. Once it has been destroyed and the data rendered irretrievable, you will be sent a certificate of destruction and video evidence of destruction if you requested it. The remains of the hard drive can then be picked apart and recycled into new metals and computer parts.

If you’ve been stockpiling old computers and laptops instead of getting rid of them, hard drive shredding provides the perfect solution for you. Shredding your hard drive protects your business against digital data theft in the most realistic way possible – by completely destroying the data. Computers and laptops without hard drives can still be sold on to recoup costs or make a profit, but with the knowledge that your data is safe. If you’re not sure how to remove the hard drive from your computer, check out our guide here. If you need someone to dispose of your old hard drives, or just want to find out more about our shredding solutions, get in touch with one of our team today.

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Click And Collect – Shredding Made Easy

We talk a lot about shredding on this blog, and this post is no exception! But today we wanted to introduce you to our newest service. We’re very excited about this addition to our line, as it has been in high demand for quite some time. Now, as well as offering a drop off service for your document shredding, we can also offer a courier collection service, so you don’t even need to leave your house or office to make sure your documents are being shredded safely.

What Is Courier Collection Shredding?

Secure and confidential disposal of paperwork isn’t always easy for small businesses, and it’s not much better for the average home owner either. Small businesses usually have confidential documents they are legally required to dispose of safely, while security conscious home shredders are left with a pile of shredded paper and nothing to do with it! Dealing with this can become pretty expensive if you need to dispose of it yourself, and many companies will only offer large disposal bins, which could take months to fill.

Our new courier service is the ‘Click And Collect’ of shredding services – except it’s us doing the collecting! Instead of having to wait for a shredding truck to visit you or taking your paper to shred yourself, you can simply order a tough, reasonably sized collections sack (or 2, or more!) and fill it up. From there simply contact our office and arrange your collection time. A dedicated UPS driver will then arrive at your home or business premises to take away your waste for shredding and disposal. We will provide you with a Certificate of Destruction as standard as legal proof that your documents have been destroyed, and we can even provide video proof of destruction for a small added fee.

Why Should I Try Courier Collection?

With many shredding services you don’t get too many options – you can either have a large shredding truck visit your premises, or you can take all of your shredding to the centre yourself.  Depending on where you are, it might not be practical to have a huge vehicle come to your premises or home. You might be on a residential road or crammed into a narrow roadway, or simply not want to disturb your neighbours. Similarly, you may not be able to take your shredding to a centre yourself. If you are a residential customer you may not be able to drive, not have time or have too much waste to fit in your car. If you are a business customer, time is money and you may end up sacrificing a member of staff for a full day to do several runs to and from a centre that might not be that close to you.

If you’re interested and would like to try out our courier collection service, we would love to help you out. We are currently offering 25% off orders for our new service, so you can try it out at a reduced price, but this is for a limited time only! Just visit the product page, select the package you would like and you’re done. If you take advantage of our introductory offer we’ll even walk you through the process and book your collections ourselves, so you can just sit back and relax. So what are you waiting for? Try out the easiest way to destroy your confidential information safely.