Identity Theft from Dumpster Diving - What You Need to Know
High-tech attacks like hacking of company databases or email phishing schemes get lots of attention, but low tech identity theft crimes like ‘dumpster diving’ for discarded mail or other documents with personal information are still a big cause for concern. Thieves can use your trash to steal your identity.
Why fraudsters dig through rubbish bins
Stealing mail from a trash can doesn’t take sophisticated computer skills or access to expensive equipment, making it a very easy pastime for common thieves. And even if you are careful about shredding your bank statements or credit card bills there is a wealth of information to be found in what you might think of as garbage or junk mail.
How trash is an ID theft goldmine
Identity fraudsters only need your name and address – two pieces of personal information easily found by rummaging through rubbish. That is all that is needed to ﬁle a change of address with the post ofﬁce which will reroute all your future mail to a new address, one of the ways thieves can begin to take over your identity.
By looking at return addresses on your thrown-away mail, these criminals can ﬁgure out where you bank or shop. They will know what insurance company you use or who holds your mortgage. They can then use this information to apply for credit or commit other acts of identity fraud.
What should you shred?
Experts recommend that we shred every piece of mail that contains any personally identiﬁable information, including just your name or address. That means:
- every envelope
- every postcard or ﬂyer
- every package label
- every prescription label
- every receipt or statement.
Bad news. That is a lot of shredding.
The average home shredder can only handle a few pages at a time. A week’s worth of junk mail and Amazon Prime labels alone can have you crouched over your shredder for longer than your patience will last.
Self-destructive labels are the solution
That everyday hassle was the inspiration for our self-shredding label design. We wanted to ﬁnd a way to make it easier for consumers to destroy their name and address on a piece of mail without having to shred every bit of paper.
Our design lets you pull a tiny thread, and the sensitive information is destroyed - instantly.
Sounds interesting? Learn more and watch a short animation of how the Self-Shredding Label works
Protect yourself against identity theft
Losing your identity is painful and costly, and unfortunately in this day and age, we have to be hyper-vigilant to protect ourselves from all sources of identity theft. There are services like LifeLock or IDWatchdog to help protect yourself online. But, you are the only one who can protect yourself at home.
Be sure to set up a system for destroying your sensitive personal information before it ends up in the trash.
Finally, if you would be interested in licensing the Invaluable Inventions, the Self-Shredding Label – do get in touch