Attorney, Division of Consumer & Business Education, FTC
Marriott International says that a breach of its Starwood guest reservation database exposed the personal information of up to 500 million people. If your information was exposed, there are steps you can take to help guard against its misuse.
According to Marriott, the hackers accessed people’s names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, passport numbers, dates of birth, gender, Starwood loyalty program account information, and reservation information. For some, they also stole payment card numbers and expiration dates. Marriott says the payment card numbers were encrypted, but it does not yet know if the hackers also stole the information needed to decrypt them.
The hotel chain says the breach began in 2014 and anyone who made a reservation at a Starwood property on or before September 10, 2018 could be affected. Starwood brands include W Hotels, St. Regis, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, Westin Hotels & Resorts, Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts, and other hotel and timeshare properties.
The company set up an informational website, https://answers.kroll.com, and a call center, 877-273-9481, to answer questions. It says affected customers also can sign up for a year of free services that will monitor websites that criminals use to share people’s (more…)
A data breach is an event – either accidental or intentional – that discloses personal, financial and/or any other private information of a business or an individual that potentially puts the entity at risk of some type of loss.
The principal causes of a data breach that compromises records and potentially puts personal and business information at risk are:
Human error by an employee
Business process or IT failures
The average cost to a financial institution for each compromised record in 2016 was $245.
The average cost of detection and escalation incurred by the U.S. firms following a material data breach in 2016 was $1.07 million.
Factors that may decrease the cost of a data breach include:
Participation in threat sharing
Use of security analytics
The recruitment and retention of knowledgeable personnel
The probability of a material data breach occurring at any organization over the next 24-month period is estimated to be 26.8%.
Contact American Document Destruction today to learn more on how our service can assist you or your business’ avoid a data breach.
This is a wonderful time of the year. Everyone is shopping and giving to those in need. Just be careful that you are not giving your information to the wrong people.
Shop at site you know are reliable. Make sure the site you are going to doesn’t have any funny symbols or numbers in the address. Identity thieves create site that have website addresses that can look very close to the real thing. They may even have links to different departments showing the companies merchandise but all they are after is your credit card information.
Watch out for pop-ups that ask for your credit information. All reliable websites have a checkout tab that will take you to a secure pay area. When in doubt close out and call the store to verify a site.
Never EVER give out your password to a website after you have logged into the site. IF this happens, you have been redirected to a fact site.
Remember, while this is a great time of year, identity thieves are always looking for way to make it a great time at your expense.
Document Destruction is a very important part of protecting sensitive business information, client records and employee files. Privacy protection should be at the top of your list when looking for a reputable professional shredding provider. But ensuring your records are destroyed securely isn’t the only thing a professional shredding service can offer your business. In addition to reducing liability and increasing productivity, outsourcing your document shredding also protects your business reputation, contributes to a healthier planet, and saves your organization money.
1. Enabling Productivity
Relying on an office shredder is better than throwing documents in the garbage. But it still takes time to do. Shredding a single file can take several minutes with all the steps involved.
When you shred in house, you end up paying your employees to feed a shredder rather than generate income.
American Document Destruction enables your staff to be more efficient with their time. Collection containers are placed within your office allowing no-longer-needed documents to be discarded quickly and securely. The entire destruction process is handled for you, enabling enhanced productivity for your staff.
2. Saving Money
Maintaining an internal document destruction program for your company can get expensive. Your costs can include purchasing shredders, buying disposal bags, maintenance, replacing aging equipment, and added (more…)
Right now, hackers and thieves could be looking for ways to steal you or your family members personal and financial information. Here are just a few or their tactics and targets.
By stealing your mail, thieves can get your personal information from bills and statements.
Thieves call pretending to be someone they are not, and request your personal information.
By looking over your shoulder, thieves can steal passwords or PIN numbers to access your private information.
COMPUTER MALWARE AND VIRUSES
Your computer can be hacked through web sites, internet programs or file sharing networks.
Companies you do business with could be storing your personal information. If there is a breach, your information could be compromised.
Your credit and debit cards could be at risk if you shop at fictitious web sites or through unsecured payment systems.
Criminals can access your personal information through unprotected computer networks.
Thieves can gather personal info from online profiles and apps.
Always make sure you are protecting you and your family against identity thieves who want to take over your family’s bank accounts, make purchases using your family’s credit, open new accounts or apply for loans in your names, or steal your loved ones tax returns or government benefits.
Nowadays, identity thieves may get your identity from data breached or compromised accounts. However, some still rely on the old-fashioned methods of mail theft or digging through your trash.
This is one of the reasons document destruction is still such an important tool, but with these unscrupulous individuals becoming more and more sophisticated and savvy, what and how you shred is more important than ever.
Even though people are doing more things digitally, many still have copies of bills or statements that may have originally been received digitally. Many still print them off and keep them in a file, which still keeps them vulnerable.
Your own personal information is everywhere… bills, bank statements, blank checks… even in credit card offers and magazines received through the mail.
If you don’t take the proper disposal of this personal information very seriously, it could end costing you.
Document destruction, or paper shredding, lowers the risk of having your confidential documents stolen and used against you. While many people are diligent about shredding their documents routinely, many also just let their documents pile up.
And that is why so many people are turning to professional shredding services.
One of our most asked questions is if you need to remove staples, paper clips, (more…)
Every October, we join the Better Business Bureau of Northern Nevada in the “Secure Your ID Day” shred event to help local residents properly dispose of any sensitive material they may have.
We do a number of these types of shred events every year, however this one is easily our largest. Bill, Bobby, Robert and Steven were the techs on duty for this one, scheduled on Saturday, October 20, 2018 from 9 am to 12 pm.
Are you interested in holding a shred event? How do you organize one?
Determine if you want a small or large event
Pick a shredding service (we’re great at this)
Find a great place to shred
Promote the event
Prep your team
Keep in mind, there are usually costs involved in hiring a shredding service to put these on as well. You may be able to use local television stations and put out a “press release” to help advertise your event.
If you’re interested in taking advantage of a “shred day”, you can ask your bank, credit union or local municipality if they have any scheduled. Other businesses will do them as customer appreciation as well. Some (more…)
In today’s digital age, electronic medical records are normal. However, most doctors, dentists and other healthcare professionals still handle, maintain and store physical documents that contain private health information (PHI). With medical identity theft on the rise, throwing documents with PHI in the trash or recycling bin should never be an option. It’s actually against the law to do so. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) places steep fines on healthcare providers who fail to dispose of PHI securely.
WHAT HIPAA SAYS
HIPPA states the healthcare organizations and their business associates should “maintain reasonable and appropriate administrative, technical, and physical safeguards to prevent intentional or unintentional use or disclosure of protected health information (PHI).” As a result, your document disposal methods must prevent unauthorized access to PHI. Fines for unauthorized disclosure can range from $50,000 to $1,500,000.
WHO HIPAA APPLIES TO
HIPAA rules apply to medical practitioners and to the businesses offering services that involve access to PHI. If you’re a contractor or vendor to a healthcare organization, HIPAA rules and requirements apply to your business.
Outsourcing your shredding to a National Association of Information Destruction (NAID) AAA Certified member is a reliable way to ensure the routine, secure and documented shredding of (more…)
One of the areas where you’re most at risk for identity theft is something you get almost every day—your paper mail, most of which is mail you should shred. More than 150 billion pieces of mail are delivered by the U.S. Postal Service every year, and much of that mail contains identifying personal information that can be used to steal your identity. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides guidance on the types of documents you should keep, but here’s a list of the type of mail you should shred before throwing out.
Documents Containing Financial Information
Anything that comes from a financial institution could potentially be used by an identity thief. Sure, you have to keep copies of bank and credit card statements for record-keeping purposes, but only for three years. Anything older than that you should shred. In addition, shred canceled checks, voided checks, and any online purchase orders that contain your bank account or billing information
Documents Containing Personal Information
Your personal information is what identity thieves are after. Your date of birth and Social Security number are especially vulnerable, so make sure anything that has those numbers goes through the shredder. Other information to be wary of: your full name (more…)
Identity theft and theft of customer data gives nightmares to small business people. It can happen easily, innocently, and unnecessarily when you don’t shred your old documents.
Business documents go out of date just like personal papers, but they often contain essential information that can be dangerous in the hands of unauthorized people.
Here is a look at why you should have a planned system for shredding to safely get rid of your out-of-date business materials.
This can affect you individually, your employees, your customers and your business entity. Theft of critical data leaves you at the mercy of thieves who use it to gain money and take over your identity. They can publish private information that puts your business and the people you connect with in embarrassing or insecure situations.
In 2014, over 17 million Americans had their identity stolen, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. With those kinds of numbers, you stand a very good chance of becoming a victim to thieves unless you shred your old papers.
Customers trust you with credit card numbers and other financial data. You may have their social security numbers, home addresses, phone numbers and other contact information. Thieves can make use of this, leaving you liable (more…)