Dumpster Diving And Identity Theft
Dumpster diving has become almost fashionable these days.
Also known as skip diving or skipping, it is the process of scavenging trash to reclaim and reuse material that has been thrown away by individuals as well as retail stores and corporations.
For many, it is the ultimate in recycling.
One Man's Trash Is Another Man's Treasure!
Traditionally, dumpster diving was left to those forced to do so out of economic necessity. Today, it can be a one time adventure to retrieve a useful item spotted in a garbage can or at the curb, or a person's choice to live a low impact lifestyle or on a tight budget.
Since North Americans hold the not so spectacular distinction of producing more garbage per person than any other country, "Dumpster Divers" are gaining a new respect amongst the environmentally conscious and concerned.
This practice may be illegal in some areas, but enforcement appears sporadic or rare in most jurisdictions. (Be sure to check out the prevailing laws in your area before giving this practice any thought.)
How To Prevent Dumpster Divers From Stealing Your Identity
Legislation like the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998 or the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act have forced some organizations and corporations to be more responsible about the storage and disposal of your personal information.
Most people think that computer hackers are the main threat to the safety of their personal information. It may surprise you that one of the biggest threats comes from people digging around in your garbage.
Mail theft, dumpster/skip diving and theft of company records are the most common ways for thieves to get personal information. Identity thieves will go to any lengths to steal information and diving into dumpsters, although very low-tech, provides them with a huge amount of material to make money from.
A criminal dumpster diver is someone who digs through the rubbish to find out your personal information. Dont believe me? Well this form of identity theft has become so popular one can now join a dumpster divers club via the Internet!
If you, or a business that has private information about you, do not destroy that personal information effectively, criminal dumpster divers will find it and use it to their advantage. Dumpster divers are looking for account numbers, social security numbers, addresses, and dates of birth from financial, medical, and personal records. If they find this information they can then steal your identity.
Identity Theft Prevention
So how do you prevent this type of identity theft? If you follow a few simple rules, you can feel somewhat secure with what youve thrown out into the trash.
1. Invest in a shredder.
2. Shred all sensitive documents with any personal information, including credit card receipts, bank statements, medical documents, paycheck stubs, utility bills, old tax returns and anything with your social security number. Dont forget those pre-approved credit card offers, as they often have a lot of personal information on them.
3. If you are recycling, use the same rule always shred sensitive documents.
But what about businesses who have personal information about you? Your accountant, doctor, bank, utility company will all have information that will be attractive to the dumpster diver. Can you be assured that they will dispose of your personal information properly?
You will need to contact these businesses to enquire how they destroy sensitive information. Make sure you are satisfied with their response and that they dispose of records with your information correctly. Ask if these companies will provide you with documentation stating how they will dispose of your personal information.
Dumpster/skip divers are out there now, digging up sensitive information, trying to steal your identity. Dont let them do it. You can prevent this form of identity theft by shredding all your documents that have your personal information.
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More About Identity Theft ...
The victims can even be infants. If you have a social security number, you can be a victim of identity theft.
~ Melodi Gates
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