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Posts filed under 'Paper Shredding'

Prevent Small Business Identity Theft With Data Destruction

Small business identity theft is a major problem in Canada. It isn’t just individuals who can have their sensitive and private information stolen for the financial gain of fraudsters. A thief can assume the identity of a business using their Employer Identification Number (EIN), like using one’s Social Security Number, to steal assets, apply for loans or credit, secure payments, and access the personal information of employees, clients, and customers. Other common information can be taken from a company’s website to fill in the remaining details. This nightmare scenario can cause much damage to a small business, including loss of finances, resources, ruining credit, and making it extremely difficult to acquire loans as well as public trust in the future.

Small businesses are larger targets than big corporations because they don’t have the resources to protect themselves. At Absolute Destruction & Recycling Corp., our primary concern is your business’s security. There are several things you can do to immediately improve and safeguard your company’s valuable assets. Make sure that staff passwords are routinely changed, and that no one records their password anywhere that can be accessed. Keep confidential customer information limited, password protected, and properly encrypted. Hire third-party professionals to take care of IT security and perform regular security audits. A business’s success also depends on proper data destruction like paper shredding and destroying old electronics and drives.

Hackers aren’t the only threat to your security. Identity theft can occur from stolen paper files or old electronics that are thrown away, improperly recycled, or just lying around. Never leave boxes of papers, files, storage drives, disks, etc. out in the open. These should be kept in locked locations with limited employee access and kept completely inaccessible to the public. Identity thieves could be complete strangers to the business; but they could also be employees, customers, suppliers, or competitors. It’s vital to regularly purge your business of old files, electronic devices, storage drives, and more.

Absolute Destruction is at the top of the list of the best shredding companies in Richmond Hill and the surrounding Greater Toronto Area. We provide exceptional on-site shredding and destruction services with the highest levels of security and the most eco-friendly policy in the industry. Our on-site services will provide you with peace-of-mind because you can physically and visually verify that we have completed your job on your premises. Our mobile shredding trucks will come to you and destroy any records, however they’re stored, where you can visually verify the job has been done. Our uniformed, bonded, and photo I.D.’d customer service reps will also provide you with a “Certificate of Destruction” and “Guarantee of Recycling”. For extra peace-of-mind, we’re certified by the National Association for Information Destruction – the official governing body for those providing information destruction. Be assured we’re always here to help with any questions that come up.

Identity theft is a growing problem for small businesses and individuals. Have a third party check your computer systems and e-commerce set-up. Regularly use shredding and data destruction services and restrict the access to the files and systems necessary to keep running. Be sure to lock up filing cabinets, password protect electronic systems, and never email or transmit important numbers like EINs or account numbers over the web without first checking the site’s security certificate. For more tips on how to protect your small business from identity theft, check out these tips.

Add comment April 24th, 2018

Security: A New Year’s Resolution

After the whirlwind of celebrations took us for a ride this past holiday, it’s nice to know that we have a little bit of time to recover at the start of the New Year. The crew at Absolute Destruction, the document destruction services in your area, would like to take this moment of calm to welcome you back to the blog! It’s with warm sincerity that we wish all the best in 2018 for you and yours.

After a year like 2017, we can appreciate how necessary this downtime is for our mental health, but don’t revel in relaxation for too long before you tackle the New Year. Though you may be tempted to see how long you can stay in your blanket burrito as you binge-watch the Alias Grace mini-series, this is a special time of year that shouldn’t go ignored!

The New Year is an opportunity to put the past behind us and embark on the next twelve months with enthusiasm — once we get over our post-holiday blues, of course! (See our upcoming guide to beat just that later this month). After some much-needed R&R, it’s easy to feel optimistic about the year ahead, especially as we frame it with the healthy changes we want to make in our lives.

New Year’s Resolutions: they’re every bit a tradition as singing Old Lang Syne at the stroke of midnight. Many of us prioritize our weight and fitness as we arrive on the other side of the holidays with our waistlines showing the evidence of our overindulgences in sweets and leftovers. Others will look to their finances as they realize just how much they spent on the holidays.

From our perspective behind our paper shredders in Richmond Hill and the rest of the GTA, security gets the highest priority. Experts say everyone will be a victim of identity theft at least once in their lifetime, and it’s easy to accept this factoid as true when you consider the number of commercial security breaches that happened in last year — many of which our blog covered as these cases unfolded in the public eye.

The good news is, with the right defence, you can avoid becoming a victim of identity theft — even when this crime is at an all-time high. The sharp blades of our mobile shredding trucks can’t help you get shredded like a superhero, but they can keep you safe from a potential attack from a criminal fraudster. Every truck in our fleet meets NAID (National Association for Information Destruction) standards, so it’s one of the few ways you can permanently destroy documents and electronic data.

For the last 16 years, these trucks have let us service Toronto and the GTA with reliable document destruction for businesses and individuals alike. With one-time purges and regular pick-ups available, you can join our customers and experience the benefit of superior document destruction.

If you have room for one more goal on your list of New Year’s Resolutions, make it security. As the threats of identity theft increase each year, you need to start thinking about how you can protect your personal information. So give us a call once you catch your breath this January, and together we’ll make 2018 the most secure year yet!

Add comment January 29th, 2018

Identity Theft: What to Do When it Happens

Despite it being our mission to provide document destruction services to everyone in the GTA, we simply can’t help everyone. Misinformation is our biggest hurdle. People simply aren’t aware that they need to protect their personal information (PI) when they dispose of it. Without knowing any better, they can accidentally share private details by throwing out files and obsolete electronics. It doesn’t always result in identity theft or fraud. But all it takes is for the right person to find your information before you’re dealing with the personal and financial consequences of a breach of PI.

Until we get the word out to all of the GTA and change everyone’s disposal methods, identity theft will happen. When it does, it’s in your best interest to start the recovery process as soon as you’ve realized it’s happened. It’s more frustrating and time consuming than you’d think, which is why we’ve developed a convenient guide on what to do should you suspect your PI has been stolen.

Make a Report
Your number one priority is to alert the authorities about the theft. This is an essential step should you ever need to prove to any financial institutions or creditors that a crime has been committed, so be sure to file a report right away. Once you’ve made your report, you can contact your bank and other financial organizations. Chances are your bank has already noticed unusual activity on your account, as they’ve created special algorithms to analyze your buying patterns. If they haven’t noticed any suspicious activity, you’ll want to clarify which purchases were made without your authorization. They’ll also be able to cancel any credit card accounts that have been compromised before flagging your account.

Notify the Government
Once you’ve alerted the authorities and banks about the situation, you’ll have prevented any more additional charges from being made in your name; however, you shouldn’t stop there. If your Social Insurance Number (SIN) was involved in the breach, your name may be used to create fraudulent identities. It’s important that you get in touch with Service Canada to inform them of your stolen PI. They’ll be able to reissue both federal and provincial identification, like your Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) card and your SIN card. Often identity thieves will open up credit accounts under your name and have the cards sent to a new address. We suggest alerting Canada Post about your situation too and making a formal address update to ensure no mail is redirected inappropriately.

Speak with a Credit Bureau
Your next step is to monitor your credit. You can work in conjunction with one of the country’s top crediting bureaus (such as Equifax, for example) to examine your ongoing credit activity. With their help, you’ll be able to see any additional fraudulent accounts open in your name that you weren’t aware of. We also recommend you apply a fraud warning on your account. This flag will stay on your account for six years, and it will warn lenders that your poor credit score is due to fraud.

It may take some time to get through this entire list. It may also take a lot of will power to work with the various organizations, creditors, and institutions necessary to flag, cancel, and monitor your accounts. Comparatively, the effort it takes to prevent identity theft is negligible. You only need to pick up the phone and speak with one of our representatives to schedule an appointment . Our mobile shredders will arrive at your house or place of business, where we’ll destroy your files and electronics using the latest NAID-approved techniques. Our shredders are equipped with sharp, complex blades that can completely demolish the paper and devices that hold your PI. Thieves wouldn’t be able to retrieve this information even if given the opportunity to go through this waste. Of course, they won’t because we immediately deliver these items to a secure recycling facility.

When you schedule our document destruction services, you remove the opportunity for thieves to come across and use your PI. So think about how you dispose of your paper and electronics. If they store confidential information like your contact details, account numbers, passwords, and other financial material, they can’t be thrown out with the rest of the trash. They need the guarantee of destruction that only we can provide.

Add comment August 22nd, 2016

Stay on top of Changes to the Personal Health Information Protection Act

Over two months ago, the Ontario legislature passed a third reading of the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA). It resulted in amendments meant to improve the accountability and transparency of the healthcare system, including changes to the penalties for privacy breaches. Anyone working in the healthcare industry would do well by reviewing these revisions, ensuring their method of collecting, storing, and disposing of Personal Health Information (PHI) is within accordance to the amended act.

PHIPA is still a relatively young bill, having only been introduced in May of 2004. Since then, it has regulated the way healthcare workers can collect, use, disclose, and dispose of PHI. Under this bill, PHI means any data as it relates to a patient’s past, current, or future medical files. It’s an umbrella term that encompasses a considerable amount of information. PHI is deemed anything used by a healthcare worker to identify or treat a patient, including family medical histories, prescriptions, hospital records, and lab test results.

The original bill outlined clear strategies on how to collect and record PHI. Physical files should be locked in filing cabinets in rooms with restricted access, while digital records should be protected by passwords, encryption, and firewalls. Only those who have been properly trained and authorized to handle these documents should have access to the rooms and computers used to store them. Once obsolete, these records follow similarly controlled methods of disposal. In order to protect outdated and unnecessary PHI, PHIPA requires the complete and utter destruction of both physical and digital copies.

These basic features of PHIPA have not changed in the latest reading, but the minor modifications have improved the transparency of the bill in hopes of strengthening patient privacy. Firstly, it’s now mandatory for healthcare organizations to report any breaches of privacy to the Information and Privacy Commissioner. Changes also include removing time restrictions on prosecutions, eliminating the need to start prosecutions within 6 months of the breach. Perhaps the most important amendment – from healthcare professionals’ perspectives – is the increase in fines for those individuals and organizations found guilty of breaking PHIPA. Nearly doubling in amount, these penalties can range from $50,000 – $100,000 for individuals and $250,000 – $500,000 for organizations or businesses.

It would be a shame to be fined half a million dollars over something so easily preventable. Employee screening and training is a critical step in safeguarding the chain of custody and shouldn’t be overlooked. Neither should mobile shredding services. Simply by scheduling regular pickups of paper medical files and obsolete electronics, the healthcare industry can avoid disposing of PHI incorrectly, saving themselves from prosecution and hefty fines.

Our shredding services are performed by highly vetted individuals, who follow NAID-certified processes to ensure security at every stage. From collection to destruction and finally recycling, the documents and devices are properly secured until our shredding representatives can provide twin guarantees of destruction and recycling.

PHIPA applies to far more professionals than just healthcare providers like doctors and nurses. Anyone working within the industry must abide by this law, including freelance caregivers, pharmacists, lab technicians, paramedics, physiotherapists, naturopaths, and mental health care workers. That’s a huge range of professionals who need help ensuring they stay within the letter of the law. Whether you’re a self-employed massage therapist or a director of a medical laboratory, your business needs professional shredding services. Luckily for you, we service the entire healthcare industry with dependable shredding, and you need only call or send off a request form to schedule your first appointment.

Add comment July 25th, 2016

Strengthen the Chain of Custody

You don’t have to be in the legal field to appreciate the need for a secure chain of custody. The way you and your business obtains, records, shares, and disposes of paper and electronic documents is important, regardless of your industry. Implementing fortified policies that secure physical and digital data is one of the best measures you can take to prevent fraud, but it isn’t the only way to protect your confidential material. A sound network security deters hackers from preying on your organization, but it does nothing to prevent something as simple as human error from threatening your company.

You can have the most sophisticated system put in place to safeguard your files, but they’re only effective when all of your employees can follow them. A simple mistake, whether through malice or ignorance, can negate the intricate physical and technological securities you have. You may have the utmost faith in your employees, but employee negligence is the one of the number one causes of fraud. According to the Ponemon Institute, over 80% of all corporate data breaches were due to human error. A fact confirmed by the Identity Theft Resource Centre (ITRC) and the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, both of which presented similar findings through independent studies. All it takes is an accidental email, a misplaced company phone, or mishandled files, and all of your elaborate precautions can be for naught.

When people are the weakest link in your chain of custody, it’s important that you invest in regular training. A one-time afternoon spent going over policies and procedures isn’t enough; people will eventually forget one or all of the steps involved in securing data and they’ll jeopardize the company when they do.

Next to education, limiting access to confidential material to top personnel only is another way you can secure the lines of information. Minimize contact by handing over the destruction of sensitive paper and digital files to a service that specializes in safe methods of removal.

As a NAID certified shredding service, we’re well-informed of the best ways to dispose of vulnerable material. We supply your office with locked containers to collect the paper and electronics that you need destroyed. These sealed bins, boxes, or bags can’t be accessed by anyone but our bonded, insured, and uniformed personnel, thus reducing the number of people who have the ability to read or retrieve any discarded information. Once these containers are full, our shredding experts will come to you, and they’ll shred your collected material on-site – after which they’ll deliver the destroyed contents to a secured recycling facility. There are no intermediaries or other employees involved in any of these steps; just our small group of dependable representatives.

When you limit the number of people who have access to important information, you’re strengthening the security policies that you put in place. Consider the lengthy chain of custody you currently have. If it involves far too many employees, give us a call. We can set up a regular pick-up for shredding according to your schedule. Whether that’s weekly, monthly, or something other arrangement, we’ll find a schedule that fits with your needs. You only have to pick up the phone!

Add comment June 21st, 2016

Spring Cleaning – the Safe Way

Spring has officially sprung in the GTA, and we’re welcoming it with open arms. Though this past winter was unseasonably warm, it was still too cold for our liking. Now that the days are longer and the temperatures are finally in the double digits, many of us are swinging open the windows and letting that warm breeze flow through our homes.  The fresh air will certainly aid in clearing out winter’s bad humours, especially as you start your annual spring cleaning. As you move through your rooms, remember that your home office requires a more discerning cleaning routine than the rest of your house. It’s home to personal and confidential information, so you need to clean, de-clutter, and organize your office with care.

If it’s been awhile since your last clean through, your office can be quite the challenge this April. Utility bills, financial statements, records, receipts, tax refunds, and other miscellaneous documents can take up space on every flat surface, and these towering stacks of paper make your task daunting. You may be tempted to sweep all of these files into an awaiting recycling bin to save on time and stress, but we wouldn’t recommend you do that. Without reviewing their content first before you throw these papers out, you could be setting yourself up for financial mistakes and identity theft.

While some of the receipts you kept out of obligation can see the inside of your recycling bin without any risks, there are other documents that should never be thrown outperiod. The original copies of your birth certificate, will, marriage license, and mortgage should be taken from these piles and filed away in a cabinet or desk drawer. You should also keep a hold of car titles, life and auto insurances, investments, and pension plans, taking efforts to file them away with labels so you know where to look when you next want to review them.

Next up are those documents that you need to keep but only for a little while. As we mentioned last month, the Canadian Revenue Agency requires you to retain your old tax returns and any supporting documents for 6 years after you file. The CRA reserves the right to review any return within those 6 years, and if they do, they will request to see any associated paperwork. Should your file be audited and you can’t provide these documents, the CRA may fine you for filing a false statement. Being reviewed and finding out you need to pay a fine because of your poor bookkeeping doesn’t feel good. Avoid the stress of owing the CRA by keeping your tax refunds organized properly for the appropriate time frame.

Once you clear your desk free of the “keepers”, it’s time to turn your eye towards what you need to discard. Some of these documents should never leave your office in an average garbage or recycling container. Those tax returns that exceed 6 years, as well as credit and bank statements, prescriptions, bills, and any other file that shows important contact or account information should never be thrown out with the rest of your recycling. Thieves target residential recycling and garbage bins to find these kinds of documents, as the confidential information they hold can be used to open up fraudulent accounts.

According to idAlerts Canada, the average victim of identity theft ends up paying $2,000 out of pocket to recover from these thefts. Being liable for expenses you didn’t make feels a lot worse than owing the CRA. To make sure you never have to pay for charges made in your name, let us help you with your spring cleaning. Our one-time purge document destruction service can ensure any file you wish to discard is incinerated entirely within our mobile shredders. We’ll even give you a “Certificate of Destruction” as proof that our shredding services will make it impossible for criminals to retrieve your information! So give us a call as you embrace your spring cleaning schedule.

Add comment April 21st, 2016

Why Local Is the Way to Go

Identity theft: it happens more often than you think. According to Trans Union and Equifax, the country’s top two credit bureaus, they receive anywhere between 1,400 and 1,800 identity theft complaints from Canadians every month! Those numbers aren’t very encouraging. To think you can avoid becoming victim of identity theft by sheer luck alone isn’t just optimistic, it’s downright dangerous. Without a proper system in place to protect your confidential material, you (or your business) could very well be another number to prove these statistics right.

When you’re ready to throw out your documents – stop. Files with your name, contact information, account numbers, or – worst of all – your SIN should never see the inside of your garbage or recycling bins. Bills, financial statements, and old tax returns hold the keys to unlocking your identity, and criminals actively search through garbage to get their hands on this information. All they need is a name and a few crucial numbers to start opening false accounts under your name.

As Shereen Zink found out, these accounts can rack up quite a bit of money. In her particular case, identity thieves used her name and SIN to open an account with Bell Canada. When the account went overdue, Bell came calling for the bill that amounted to $3,500. Eventually, Zink was able to prove to the phone company that she did not open or use the account, but this process took 8 long months.

No one wants to get entangled in a legal battle with a company over money they didn’t spend. That’s why it’s essential that you use our secure document disposal services whenever you need to get rid of important paper documents. These services destroy any files into pieces so small there’s no hope of them being recovered.

But why specifically is a local company better? Because it’s as simple as it is secure. As a shredding service local to the GTA, we’ve streamlined our process to eliminate any weaknesses in security. The steps that we take to destroy your material are few, secure, and straight forward. We operate with a small crew of fully bonded service representatives who arrive to your home or place of business with one of our mobile shredding trucks where they’ll shred your documents on site. These representatives and our trucks adhere to standards set by the National Association for Information Destructions (NAID) to ensure the utmost confidentiality. Once completed, we can supply a “Guarantee of Destruction” before our representatives deliver the pulverized paper to a secure recycling facility.

It’s as simple as that. There are no elaborate methods of acquiring, shredding, or recycling your documents. You simply only have to schedule an appointment, and we’ll meet you wherever you are. Our service representatives will transport your collected material to our shredders under your watchful eye.

If you’re ready to protect yourself from potential identity theft, check out our services. See if you require a one-time purge or a regular pick-up for the amount of paper or electronics that you produce. Then you only need to call or request an online quote to schedule our services. Once we dispose of your confident documents with our guaranteed certainty, you can rest assured you’ll avoid being a victim!

Add comment March 22nd, 2016

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