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Top 5 Reasons to Shred Your Important Business Documents

Security paper shredding

This article was originally posted by Kate Roberts here.

In today’s day and age, every business collects and maintains sensitive information. Although many businesses are making the shift to storing data electronically, there are still many businesses that store paper files. If you’re one of those businesses, you may be wondering what to do with those important documents when they’re no longer needed. Customer lists, payroll records, and credit card information are all things that should be shredded when you’re ready to dispose of them. Wondering why it’s so important to shred important business documents? Here are the top five reasons:

1. Prevent identity theft

In 2012, about 16.6 million U.S. residents over the age of 16 were victims of at least one identity theft incident according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. In order to protect your employees, your customers, and your business, it’s essential that you shred documents when they’re no longer needed. When these documents are still in your possession, it’s important that you store them in a safe and protected location.

2. Protect your customers

Going along with the point above, it’s important that you do everything you can to protect your customers’ identities. Even though you shouldn’t be writing down credit card information, if you do, it’s important that you shred this information right away. The same goes for any documents that have sensitive customer information on it.

3. It’s the law

Legislation regarding information privacy and security is getting more and more rigorous, and it continues to be strictly enforced. Penalties can be severe for businesses that fail to comply with these regulations. You have a duty to protect your customers’ personal and secure information, and if you don’t, you’re at risk of receiving fines for mishandling customer information.

4. Protect your employees

Employees have a legal right to privacy, and they expect that you will keep their personal information safe. Where are you discarding voided checks, old pay stubs, time cards, health records, copies of photo IDs and social security cards? If you’re simply throwing them in the trash can, you’re not doing everything you can to ensure that your employees’ privacy and identity are protected. Shredding these documents is a better alternative to just throwing them away.

5. You’ll save space

Do you really need all of those papers that are piling up in your office? If you have paper taking up coveted “real estate” in your office, consider shredding those documents instead. By shredding all of those unnecessary documents, you’ll create extra space in your office for other, more important things (like that new computer you’ve been wanting).

Documents you should be shredding

Wondering what kinds of documents should go through the shredder? Here are some examples:

  • Tax returns
  • Photo IDs
  • Bank statements
  • Voided checks
  • Employee pay stubs
  • Credit card information
  • Copies of sales receipts
  • Documents containing sensitive information such as name, address, phone number or email
  • Employment records

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