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Identity theft: Your trash, their treasure

Everyone wants to keep their identity safe, but sometimes we all make poor decisions without realizing that they might put our identity at risk. Just think of your trash for a few moments. Seems innocent enough, but when you learn that there are people willing to dig through your trash in search of treasure you thinking might shift. Junk mail, credit card offers and bills can be a gold mine for people who have identity theft in their mind.

To steal your identity a person needs only a few pieces of personal information about you and the will to do it. A name, an address, and a few pieces of financial information and the thief can start opening accounts in your name. All of those might be found on a bank statement. Or they might just take one of those preapproved offers from your trash and send it back in. The first time you may know about it is when a collection agency calls and wants to know why you aren’t paying your bills. At that point your credit score has taken a hit and people are wanting money, all while you are scrambling to try and fix the fact your identity has been stolen.

As with so many things in life, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So how can we secure your waste disposal process? Well, I don’t recommend that you become a hoarder and never throw anything out. You can still take out the trash, as long as we put a few measures in place to keep you safe. The easiest thing to do would be to purchase a quality shredder and shred all your important documents (and some of that junk mail too) before throwing it out. If you don’t want to put out the money for a shredder you can always burn what you would have shredded. I even know a guy that keeps some worms in a container on his back deck and he will put paper with personal info in that bin and let the worms eat it.

Another measure to keep in mind is to think ‘where does your trash sit’ when you take it out. If you are in an apartment complex there may just be a community dumpster that is emptied weekly. In that case the best course of action is to pay attention to when the dumpsters are emptied and take your trash out as shortly before hand as possible. The longer it sits in an unsupervised area the more chances there are for thieves to be pulling those “golden nuggets” out. If you have a trash can that is outside your house and you wheel down to the end of the street on collection day, some motion sensing lights might give you piece of mind that people aren’t sneaking up in the night. Also you may want to build a tall fence around were your trash cans sit, which will both secure your trash and make the area look nicer.

Whatever strategies you choose to deploy, remember it might be those little steps that can either cost you identity or keep you safe. That junk mail you toss out could be the golden nugget to someone else. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to pay for that someone else to be taking fantastic trips and watching a big screen TV.

power By solvemax
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