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Paper Trails Leading to Loss of Identity 

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Identity Theft through Careless document handling

While it isn't heavily emphasized in the news media these days - there is much security lost on a regular basis through the careless handling of paper.

Even utility bills in this day and age can leave identity thieves with plenty of information necessary in order to pretend to be you, one of your family members, or one of your employees.

The paper that is innocently thrown away from homes and businesses each and every year provides those who would steal your identify with the ammunition to do just that.

Unfortunately, identity theft doesn't begin to cover the nightmares that can be experienced by allowing slips of paper to fall into the wrong hands. Many major enterprises have fallen victim to near disaster, which might have been minimized by simply shredding classified or private internal documents.
While this is by no means meant to condone paper shredding to cover up crimes and misdeeds it does show the power that paper truly has, particularly in the 'Information Age' in which we live.

Paper remains one of the most effective and convenient ways of exchanging information with large numbers of the population. Books continue to be printed on paper, as do magazines, and quarterly reports.
The average household needs
to have a paper shredder that
is big enough to handle the     average volume of mail coming
into the home each and every
Despite the fact that many of us live and die by our computers, we still enjoy the ability to take this information away from the computer and enjoy it offline.

The thing to remember is that even though we can print delicate and often confidential material from our computers and take it along with us, it is imperative that this information is not merely tossed in the garbage.

It needs to be destroyed in a permanent way.

The price we must pay for having sensitive and personal information floating around on paper documents is the necessity to shred those papers and remove the information that could be used and abused by others for more sinister purposes.

If you go through a lot of paper during the course of a business day - documents that need to be shredded and removed - it could be in your best interest to enlist the services of a paper shredding company. Or, you may want to invest in some serious document shredding machinery.

There are more reasons for this than the obvious security risks. Unlike information on a computer, paper takes up an incredible amount of space. This means that unless a business has amazing storage capacity some of the paper information is going to have to be removed after a certain period of time in order to make room for the new paper that is being generated on an almost daily basis.

Those documents that need to be kept in perpetuity can often be scanned to a computer then destroyed in order to make room for more papers (you should check with your lawyers, however, before doing this in order to determine the types of original documents necessary to have access to in case of litigation).

Information fraud and identity theft are problems that are not limited to businesses and the corporate world.

The average household needs to have a paper shredder that is big enough to handle the average volume of mail coming into the home each and every week. Anything that has personal information that doesn't need to be kept on hand should be immediately shredded.
                                                                               ... Richard Rossbauer

Richard started his "Firewalls and Virus Protection" website and "Security Alert News Reporter" to help everyday Internet users navigate safely through the Cyber Space that has become a 'Cyber Jungle', loaded with ambushes and booby traps. He promotes his "Computer Security Awareness Campaign" thru his website at
Help us educate and protect the unwary by sharing this article. Reprint it if you have a newsletter, website or ezine. Copy or print it to give to your friends. It may be used at will so long as no edits or changes are made to the content and links, and the full attribute box is included. We'd appreciate a short note telling when and where you have posted it. Thank you....Richard (

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