You hear them in the alleys at night. Unsavory marauders, in search of aluminum cans, food scraps…or maybe your social security number! In Pacific Beach and Mission Beach the “alley thieves” are everywhere. We thought that identity theft had mostly moved to cyberspace. But, as a 2016 article by the San Diego District Attorney attests, “dumpster diving” is still a key strategy for certain identity thieves.
There are key pieces of information that put you at risk, including your address in combination with your social security number, date of birth, numbers from your driver’s license, credit cards, bank accounts, and even your health insurance. As seen in this video created by the owner of a security company, one document, not shredded, can contain all the information a thief needs to use your information for their personal gain.
At Beach Mailbox it’s not unusual for us to hear the “horror stories” of people whose identity has been stolen. Why? Because they come to us to mail, fax, scan and copy documents that they need to “recover” their life. On average, victims of identity theft spend 500 hours and $3,000 to repair the damage.
We can’t control all the information that companies have (as evidenced by the recent Equifax database hack that exposed 15 million Americans). But, each of us can take steps to keep our vital information out of the hands of desperate people. Start by nipping identity theft in the bud with a credit monitoring service like CreditKarma.com, which is free. Or, for extra security, sign up with one of paid services, like Experian or LifeLock.
To address the “dumpster diving” threat, the #1 step is to stop putting documents with identifying information into your trash or recycle bin! Keep a separate waste bin, bag, or box in your house for this type of document. When it fills up, bring it into Beach Mailbox. Our document shredding service is quick and easy. We weigh your documents, charge by the pound, then we lock them in our secure shredding bin, which gets picked up weekly and shredded on site by local company Data Disposal.
While it’s fun to walk around in a scary costume and assume a different identity on Halloween, this October take steps to keep your real identity safe by keeping your ID “treats” away from the creeps!
October Special: Prevent identity theft by shredding vulnerable documents for only 50c per pound (normally 90c).