How to Protect Your Child from Identity Theft

identity theftBack-to-school is a busy and exciting time for students, teachers and parents. It’s also an exciting time for identity thieves. Yes, you read that correctly.

Child identity theft is probably the last thing you think of when you think of the first day of school, but sadly, it’s something you should be thinking about. Child identity theft is real, and it seems to be on the rise. Filling out any kind of paperwork for your children, enrolling them in school, signing up for extra-curricular classes/teams and getting a debit or credit card for your older kids can put them at risk of identity theft.

Most people don’t even realize their child’s identity has been stolen until the child is grown and trying to apply for a credit card, lease an apartment or buy a car.

Here are some tips to help protect your child from identity theft:

  • Ask Questions. Anytime you have to provide your confidential information to a school or organization, ask the schools policy on storing and disposing of sensitive documents. Security experts say that the only secure way for organizations to destroy confidential documents and data is through a professional, secure shredding company.
  • Understand Privacy Laws & Your Rights. The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects the privacy of student education records and also gives parents options when it comes to sharing contact/directory information with third parties.
  • Safely Store Sensitive Information. Keep all of your child’s personal documents like birth certificate, social security card and passport in a secure place like a safe or a locked filing cabinet.
  • Shred Old & Expired Personal Documents. Important information can fall into the wrong hands when tossed in the trash or recycling bin. When a document containing your child’s personal information expires, or is no longer needed, shred them.
  • Teach Internet Safety. Kids use the internet for everything these days. It’s very common for sites, games and apps to require the filling out and submission of an online form before allowing the user access. Social media accounts contain everything about your child: their school, friends, interests, birthday, address, photos of what they look like and the exact location for every post. Talk with your kids about the extreme importance of internet safety and require them to ask permission before filling out any online forms. Talk to them about giving out information on social media and check the privacy settings of their social media accounts to make sure they are private.
  • Watch for Red Flags. If your child starts receiving anything in the mail, credit card applications, random catalogs or any kind of statement, that’s a red flag you need to investigate. It may not always mean their identity has been stolen, but it’s definitely something you don’t want to ignore.
  • Secure Data Destruction. Your children’s computer and cell phones contain information on them that is not easy to get rid of. When your child upgrades to a new phone or computer, make sure you have the hard drive shredded or the cell phone properly recycled. Hard drive destruction is the only 100% secure way to protect information.

Identity theft continues to be a growing concern in today’s world. Keep your children, and yourself, as safe as possible by securely disposing of any documents or data that contain sensitive information.

If you need commercial or residential secure onsite document and data destruction contact Tristar Document Shredding at 1-888-747-3397 or visit our website at www.TristarShredding.com.

Business Shredding and Document Destruction – Partner with a Professional

business shredding

Security is a top priority for businesses. Not only for their own data, but its imperative that organizations protect their customers’ information as well. Proper destruction of documents, hard drives and anything with sensitive information is critical for long-term success.

Improper destruction can lead to a whole host of problems – security breaches, identity theft, financial penalties, not to mention a PR nightmare. So when it comes to document and data destruction, you’ll want to partner with a reputable company. Here’s why:

Convenience: A shredding company that comes to you saves you time and hassle. Also, there is no need to remove paper clips, staples, binders, etc. which makes life so much easier. 

Range of Services: Professional services can properly destroy not only paper, but also hard drives, magnetic tapes, CD’s, and floppy discs as well.

Budget Friendly: Partnering with a company such a TriStar allows you to budget properly. Containers are supplied at no charge to contracted businesses, and there are no hidden charges or add-ons so you know exactly what your cost will be. No surprises.

Customizable: You can customize your business shredding service based on your organization’s unique needs. The size of container, frequency other customizations can be implemented to best serve you. Whether weekly, semi-monthly or monthly shredding, you can tailor the schedule and adjust as needed.

Secure: Secure containers give you piece of mind that your data is stored safely until your next scheduled service.

Proof: Upon completion, you will receive a Certificate of Destruction confirming your materials have been destroyed.

When it comes to sensitive information, businesses have an obligation to properly destroy their customers’ data. By partnering with a professional you’ll have piece of mind and confidence, so you can focus on what you do best – running your business.

If you have questions about document shredding, or need additional information about business services or pricing, contact TriStar Document Shredding today.  

6 Benefits of Mobile Data Destruction

hard drive shreddingSecure Data Destruction is an important topic that most businesses take seriously – and for good reason. There are regulations and stiff penalties for noncompliance, not to mention potential PR nightmares for security breaches.

Which is why it’s critical for organizations to partner with a reputable company for their paper and hard drive data destruction needs. A company that comes to your location and completes the process on-site provides multiple benefits.

Below are six benefits of on-site mobile data destruction: 

Convenience – Mobile data destruction removes the hassle of having to transport sensitive data or physically bringing hardware to a location. It’s easy and convenient, which saves you time and increases efficiency.

You Can Witness the Process – If seeing is believing, you’ll know for a fact that your data was properly destroyed. By choosing on-site mobile data destruction you can see the process from start to finish. This provides peace of mind, because the sensitive data never leaves your location. No worrying g about what happens to it after it leaves your hands.

Professional Grade Equipment – Heavy-duty, top-of-the-line equipment is necessary to remove drives from machines and server banks. Professional equipment can turn even the most difficult jobs into scrap metal.

Ensures Regulation Compliance – Using a reputable mobile data destruction company helps ensure you are compliant with Federal, State and Industry Regulations. The process is documented so you have proof of 100% secure data destruction.

Environmentally Responsible – You can feel good knowing that members of the National Association for Information Destruction (NAID) recycle in an environmentally responsible manner. For example Tristar Shredding recycles all of the data back into the world so not a single fragment ends up in a landfill.

Peace of Mind – Knowing that you have taken the steps to dispose of your sensitive data properly and environmentally friendly gives you peace of mind. You can sleep at night knowing that your business and your customers are as safe as possible.

Click here to learn more about TriStar Shredding’s Mobile Data Destruction, or contact us here.

Document Destruction Best Practices

document destructionAlmost all businesses deal with sensitive and confidential information in some capacity, whether its customer financial information, health records or other critical data. No matter your industry, it’s important to have proper destruction processes in place to prevent a security breach.

Below are best practices that all companies, regardless of size or industry, should have in place regarding their document destruction:

Regular Shredding – It’s important to shred documents on a consistent basis. Even today, a large number of theft is physical, such as dumpster diving. Regular shredding minimizes this risk.

Keep Sensitive Documents Only as Long as Needed – Once you no longer need the information, shred it! Again, this minimizes the risk of identity theft or a security breach.

Company Culture of Shredding – Communicate the importance of document destruction to all employees. Train your staff, including all new employees, and ensure there are systems in place for proper document handling.

Use a Professional Service – Professionals are trained to handle the documents properly. This gives you confidence in your data destruction and can provide a Certificate of Destruction for your records.

Compliance with Federal and State Regulations – Different industries have different regulations and laws (HIPAA, GLB, FACTA, PIPEDA, etc.). Know what yours are, and follow them. Repercussions for non-compliance are not only costly, but can damage your company’s reputation.

Environmentally Friendly – A good professional service will practice environmentally friendly processes, but always shred BEFORE recycling. Electronic data can often be recycled, but it’s critical to clear off sensitive information first. Make sure there is no personal or competitive data before donating or recycling.

Proper document destruction is crucial to protect your business and customers to prevent costly and damaging mistakes. To learn more, contact Tristar Document Shredding today.

The Impact of a Privacy Breach

privacy breachMany companies deal with documents that hold confidential information on a daily basis. When it’s time to dispose of these private records it’s important to do so in a way that ensures the information remains concealed. Secure and proper document and data destruction is so important that failing to meet the appropriate standards can have major repercussions.

Here are four negative effects a breach of privacy can have on your business:

Fines – Companies that handle confidential information are legally bound to protect their customer’s information. Not doing so can lead to penalties and fines that can sometimes reach millions of dollars.

Criminal Penalties – There are different degrees of consequence for criminal violations depending on the type, size and severity of the breach. The consequences can be criminal penalties that range anywhere from 1-10 years in prison, often accompanied with a fine.

Lawsuits – You are legally required to keep certain information private, so even a minor infringement can have major consequences. Just one stray file – one person – that’s all it takes for one lawsuit; and one lawsuit may not break your company, but it will paint you in a negative light and betray the trust of both current and potential patients/clients.

Public Image – Companies strive to build a respectable and trustworthy reputation among their community. A privacy breach of any magnitude will tarnish your reputation and put a stigma on your company that will be hard to get rid of.

Properly handling and disposing of confidential information is a responsibility that must be managed with extreme care. Failure to do so can lead to dire consequences for your business.

Utilizing a secure data destruction company, like Tristar Shredding, can help to lighten the load by ensuring that your sensitive documents are being discarded in a safe and suitable way with no extra effort from you.

If you would like more information on 100% secure document and data destruction please visit our website or contact us for a free quote.

Why Should My Business Outsource Our Data Destruction?

Data DestructionMost businesses understand the importance of protecting their customers’ information. Depending on the industry, they may have access to social security numbers, financial information, health records and other critical information. Companies take the necessary steps to protect their customers and ensure they are in compliance with federal and state laws. The final step of the process, which includes proper data destruction, is no exception.

Which is why it’s shocking how many times you hear of organizations under fire because someone found binders full of sensitive customer information in a dumpster behind their office. Or data was retrieved from an old computer that they donated or resold, even though they “thought” they had erased it all. Some businesses unknowingly put their customers at risk.

Many workers don’t realize that small office shredders are not only inefficient, but they’re also inadequate for protecting data. In fact, the shredded strips are not particularly difficult to reconstruct, expecially for an experienced financial criminal.

As a small business, you are legally required to protect your customers and comply with relevant security standards including HIPPA (healthcare), FACTA (credit report), and Gramm-Leach-Bliley (financial). Failure to do so can result it stiff penalties, not to mention the negative PR associated data breaches.  Clearly the extra cost of properly destroying customer data is small compared to the possible repercussions of NOT doing it.

Ask any company that has inadvertently compromised their customers’ information and they’ll tell you they wish they had taken the proper steps the first time. Breaking a customer’s trust is the last thing any business wants to do.

Partnering with a professional, reputable data destruction company such as Tristar Document Shredding will give you confidence and peace of mind. You can focus on your customers’ satisfaction and we’ll destroy their sensitive information. Then we can all sleep better at night.

If you are in need of a professional data destruction company give us a call today at 1-888-747-3397 or visit our website to get a free quote.

Hard Drive (Data) Destruction

data destrucionData destruction completely erases data from a computer’s hard drive. This is an important distinction from simply deleting files. Some people mistakenly think that when they delete files and then empty their computer’s recycle bin the data is gone. Not true. Deleting them makes it so the operating system can’t find them, but in fact the data is still there and can be recovered.

Data destruction software, however, really does erase it. It’s important to do this if you need to wipe your hard drive clean before recycling or selling a computer. If, for instance, you get a new computer and want to sell or pass on your old one it’s critical to permanently erase your personal information. You never know where it could end up, and you want to protect yourself from major problems such as identity theft. Take the extra steps to render your data completely unreadable. You don’t want to regret it later.

There are several different options for hard drive destruction. The first is to wipe the drive completely. This destroys your personal information as well as all the drive’s data. Doing this leaves the computer with a completely empty drive. The next owner will have to re-install operating systems and programs.

Another option is to only erase your personal or sensitive files. You can pick which files to delete but the software remains installed. You may choose this option if you plan to keep your computer or pass it on to a friend or relative. It saves them the hassle of re-installing software and programs.

And finally? A third method if you really want to get rid of your hard drive is to physically destroy it. Sounds sort of fun, right? It’s still a good idea to run the data destruction first, just for extra precaution. Then take it out and smash it to bits.

When dealing with sensitive information you want to be sure you have it completely erased. Do your research for which method and programs are best for your needs, and if you need an expert to help you navigate the different options, call us at (936) 788-4733 or get a free quote here.

To Shred or Not to Shred?

Many people affiliate document shredding with businesses, but did you know that you should be shredding your personal mail and documents when you discard them? Personal information such as name, address, phone number, bank account numbers, social security number, etc. can find its way into the wrong hands if not disposed of properly. Hand tearing documents is not effective, because they can easily be pieced back together.

We accumulate so much paperwork it’s hard to decide what we need to hang on to and what we can dispose of. Here’s a list of things you need to keep for a lifetime:

  • Social security cards
  • Birth and death certificates
  • Marriage license
  • Business license
  • Insurance policies
  • House deed
  • Mortgage paperwork
  • Vehicle titles
  • Any loan documents
  • Wills and power of attorneys

Obviously all of these are important documents and they need to be stored in a safe, accessible place so that they can be reached easily when needed. Some of the documents cluttering your home do not need to be kept forever, but how do you know when to throw them away? Here’s a list of things that you only need to hold on to temporarily:

  • Tax records need to be kept for 7 years
  • Home purchase, home sale or home improvement documents need to be kept for 6 years after the sale of your home
  • Medical bills need to be kept at least 1 year after payment
  • Warranty documents and receipts need to be kept for the life of the warrantied item

You also need to keep the most recent version of your annual insurance policy, social security statements, and retirement plan statements. Once you receive current ones in the mail you can discard the old ones.

Everything else you have can be discarded or shredded. Remember, anything with personal information of any kind needs to be shredded, that includes airline tickets, all receipts, all bills, old check books, or any expired ID’s or credit cards.

Tristar Document Shredding provides safe, secure and affordable shredding services to commercial and residential locations. Visit our website here to schedule your free online consultation.

Fight Identity Theft with Document Shredding

identity theft document shreddingA person’s identity is one of the most crucial aspects of security among the working class. This is because it is through identity that one is defined and known by his/her employer. Identity is responsible for many things in one’s life. This is because your identity confirmation is needed almost anywhere you go in order to affirm your presence in a particular place. For this reason, identity crime has been on the rise in recent times because with the introduction of the social media platforms, it has been easy to get the portrait of people since they post their pictures with details in such media as facebook or even twitter. With personal information displayed all over Facebook, one’s identity can easily be assumed by a person with malicious interests to perform ungodly acts and display an innocent person’s identity in the quest for disguising his real identity. Documents are some of the most rampant mode of identity display to malicious people, and it is through some vital documents that information to do with the identity of a person is disclosed to a third party.

 

The only way out of this is to destroy these documents if they are no longer in use by the concerned authorities. This is the only way to safeguard the security of one’s identity from susceptibility of wrong use. There are so many ways through which these documents can be destroyed in a good way in order to protect the identity of the people concerned. One of the best ways of fighting identity theft is document shredding. Tristar Shredding offers document shredding in Houston. The following are some of the most amazing tips to use in order to ensure safety while trying to fight identity theft with document shredding.

Ensure that you hire an approved company to do so

For big institutions which deal with large volumes of documents, it is recommended that they hire a company that deals in handling documents that are no longer needed by the company in question. In order to ensure maximum security, hiring an approved company is the safest thing to do. This is because approved companies are known for their genuine work.

For very sensitive documents, on site shredding is recommended

It is through documents that identity crime starts. Identity is not only physical, it can be in the form of a signature. Thus one can copy a signature and withdraw money from the bank! It is, therefore, very important to always be alert on how to handle such documents that are no longer needed in order to avoid such cases.

Tristar Shredding provides shredding services in Houston and nearby areas. Give us a call today and learn how we can help you with this sensitive situation and give you peace of mind.

Secure Onsite Document Destruction For Your Protection and Your Customers’ Protection

shredding paper

Choosing secure onsite document destruction (for your protection and your customers’ protection) could be one of the best things that you ever do for your business. These services are quick, convenient and will not have any significant impact on your overall productivity. The equipment that Tristar Shredding uses for these efforts is typically capable of shredding thousands of pounds of paper in an hour. Thus, no matter what the magnitude of your document destruction needs may be, you can count on getting swift and seamless results.

Get An Affordable And Reliable Solution To Your Document Destruction Needs

These services are structured for ensuring that all shredded documents are rendered irretrievable. In addition to being shred on site and with you present, these materials are then mixed with other shredded paper. Moreover, all of the resulting waste is wholly recyclable and this means that you can do something good for the environment while protecting your interests and those of your clients.

For some companies, shredding documents that contain the personal and confidential information of customers is essential for remaining in compliance with industry regulations. Having a third-party destroy these documents on your behalf eliminates the need to invest in and maintain costly shredding equipment. Best of all, given that this is all that these companies do, they will give your job their full attention from start to finish. This is not often the case when document shredding is performed in-house and with the use of slower and lower-quality shredding equipment.

How This Process Works

Documents that are tagged for destruction can be secured in locked containers on site for pick-up and processing. Your provider will then arrive with a large truck that is equipped with a heavy-duty document shredder. The locked containers will be moved to the truck and emptied directly into the attached shredding unit so that no parties are ever physically handling these confidential materials. This is the safest and surest way to protect sensitive information at all times.

Opting to perform document destruction in-house and without the use of a trusted service provider like Tristar Shredding can leave ample opportunity for sensitive information to become compromised. In addition to being less secure than using a document destruction service that performs its duties on-site, these efforts will also pull trained talent away from the duties that these individuals were hired to perform in your company. In this way, a trusted document shredding service can significantly improve your productivity and your bottom line by allowing your team to better focus on the needs of your business.

Tristar Shredding provides secure on site document shredding in Houston and nearby areas. Give us a call today to avail yourself of our service to protect your company and your customers.