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Posts filed under 'Shredding Services'

Medical Theft is No Laughing Matter

On the surface, the unauthorized use of your OHIP card doesn’t seem too bad. What’s it to you if someone schedules a visit with their doctor under your name? A check-up is just one of the many health services that comes free as a resident of Ontario. Unfortunately, this basic medical physical isn’t why fraudsters steal medical information. An Ontario Health Insurance Plan card is sold for approximately $1,000 on the street so that fraudsters can access treatments and pharmaceuticals without providing their own name, which can have detrimental consequences for your health and your wallet.

Why It’s Bad for Your Health

Anytime you use your health card to access treatment from your family doctor, a hospital, or any therapy clinic, a record will be made in your file for the treatment you’ve undergone. If your OHIP hasn’t been cancelled and flagged as stolen, there’s no way for these medical centres to recognize their unlawful use. A thief can use your medical information to access treatment and drug therapies of their own, and the health care they receive will be recorded on your file. This can have a negative effect in your life, as your real and fraudulent medical information will mix, creating a confusing history of ailments, disorders, drug regimes, and therapies an attending doctor must parse through. Incorrect medical notes may be added that can prevent you from accessing care that you need.

Why It’s Bad for Your Bank Book

Unless you’re receiving emergency medical care in hospital, these mistakes in your medical history can be rectified simply by having a conversation with your family doctor and removing the false information. What’s far more damaging are the financial effects of these fraudulent treatments. Your OHIP only covers so much, leaving many treatments and prescriptions as out-of-pocket medical expenses. When your medical identity is stolen, a thief will use your contact information and any private medical insurance you have under your name to pay for these services. Eventually, you’ll receive a bill in the mail for a treatment you never underwent; or you’ll file for a reimbursement for expenses from your insurance and find out you’ve already used your annual maximum.

How You Can Prevent it

Protecting your personal information is the easiest way to avoid medical theft altogether. Make sure you never leave your OHIP or SIN cards unattended and don’t give out these numbers to anyone but your trusted medical providers. Should you lose or have either of these cards stolen, cancel them immediately by contacting your local Service Canada and Service Ontario offices.

When you receive any medical invoices for uncovered treatments and medication, keep these safely in your records so that you can file them correctly with your insurance company and the Canada Revenue Agency in time for taxes. For tax purposes, you’ll need to keep these records for at least 7 years in case of an audit. When this time frame has elapsed, be sure to call us to schedule a one-time purge of your medical records. Our NAID-certified mobile shredders can eliminate the information kept on these files without a chance of retrieval. Unlike simply throwing out these documents in the trash with the rest of your garbage (in bins that identity thieves can search), our mobile shredding will make sure identity thieves are incapable of finding and using your personal information. Give us a call before you toss any medical documents — your health and your wallet will thank you!

Add comment October 25th, 2016

The True Cost of a Data Breach

We’ve bandied about the consequences of a critical data breach in relation to the various privacy protection laws in this country for years now. But have you ever read these laws on your own? It may come as no surprise to discover that PIPEDA and PHIPA are written in typical legalese, which makes their regulations difficult to understand. Regardless of their complexity, they’re still the law. Not following their directives can result in costly fines and unmeasurable damage to your business’ reputation.

The nature of data breaches will differ from industry to industry and company to company. Some will be negligible while others will blow up on a large scale. Several prominent organizations have studied commercial identity theft and broken it down the averages in black and white, making it easier to understand what’s in store for your company should you suffer from a breach.

Each year, the Ponemon Institute publishes a study on the cost of data breaches. Their fifth (and most recent) survey has shown that the cost of data breaches has continued to rise since the study’s inception. Their report analyzed information provided by companies from over 15 different industries, including medical and healthcare services, retail, financial, and marketing industry. They consolidated the stats and came to an easily disseminated review.

In two years alone, between 2013 and 2015, the number has increased by 23%. As a result, the cost of the average breach has seen exponential growth as well. The statistics are astounding. Every single stolen article or file costs the average company somewhere between $145 and $154. The chances of a breach involving only one confidential record are incredibly unlikely. In fact, the Ponemon study shows the average breach involves approximately 5,000 to 101,000 files. That makes the average cost of a data breach – all told – $3.8 million.

That’s quite a price tag, especially if you’re a relatively small enterprise without the multi-billion dollar revenue of certain multinational companies. This also doesn’t take into account the damage a breach can cause to your reputation. A large data breach can be a PR nightmare. Those clients affected in the theft will resent you for the risk you’ve opened them up to. Meanwhile, future customers will be wary to trust you, as they’ll see you aren’t taking the appropriate security measures to protect their information.

What are the appropriate security measures? Taking the time to invest in employee screening and training, adaptive digital security policies, and reliable document destruction is integral to preventing an attack. As you meet with your CIO, Board of Directors, and IT department to draft a comprehensive security policy, give us a call. We can schedule mobile shredding for your physical and electronic data that fits your needs. Whether that’s once a day or once a month, our fully bonded and uniformed shredding personnel will arrive at your doors and ensure not a single file – paper or otherwise – leave your place of business in a way that can be read and exploited.

Avoid having to pay the price of a data breach. Beef up your security, and give us a call – before it’s too late!

Add comment May 10th, 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

Tax Season is Around the Corner: Protect Yourself!

March isn’t just a herald of spring. It also signals the beginning of tax season. With April 30th as the final day to file last year’s income tax return, the upcoming weeks can be busy for Canadians. As you begin to sort through your various T3s, T4s, and T5s, we thought it the appropriate time to remind you about how important it is to handle these documents with care. The personal information (PI) recorded on these slips can be used against you should they be found by the wrong kind of people. Criminals will stop at nothing to find and use your PI to file false returns and open dummy accounts, so you need to ensure you dispose of your information correctly.

As we reported last year, over 31,000 cases of identity theft were reported to the credit monitoring company Equifax in 2013. Unfortunately, according to the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA), only 128 people were convicted of tax fraud in that same year, and only 23% of them ever saw jail time. This number may seem modest in comparison to those submitted by our neighbours to the south (the US saw 25 times as many convictions in 2013), but these 128 cases still managed to total over $32 million in losses.

Falsifying tax refunds is simple enough in this country. All one needs to file a tax return is a real name and an authentic Social Insurance Number (SIN). A thief can easily falsify the remaining documents they need to complete a return. As long as the name and SIN is legitimate, a false return won’t be flagged within the system. That means an identity thief can reap any rewards their doctored return grants them under your name, and if they’re good, these rewards are plenty. They can continue to file under your name until you notice a discrepancy or if it’s randomly chosen to be audited by the CRA.

The numbers are stacked against you, but they provide a necessary lesson. If you remain vigilant during and after tax season and keep your PI away from those who wish to commit tax fraud, you can stay safe. Any document you use to support your tax return should be filed carefully away from prying eyes. This includes any bills or receipts that include your contact information, financial account numbers, and SIN – even if you don’t need them for your income tax.

In fact, it’s important that you know exactly where you store your old tax returns and their supporting documents. Should your (genuine) return come under review, the CRA will request to see these files. If you can’t supply these documents, you could be fined for a false statement. To avoid that, the CRA requires you keep your past tax returns and their supporting papers on file for 6 years.

After those years, however, you can do as you please with them, but we suggest that you don’t throw them out with the rest of the recycling. Tax fraudsters look through garbage and recycling bins left out on the curb for exactly this information.

When you’re ready to throw out your confidential material, keep your important files out of the garbage. Instead, rely on our document destruction services to dispose of your paper. Our fully bonded service representatives destroy your material using our secure mobile shredding trucks, so we can shred all of your documents at your curb. Should you complete your taxes online, these trucks have the power to incinerate any digital media (like laptops, memory sticks, CD-ROMs, or external hard drives) that you’ve used to store PI. Whether it’s paper or electronic material, we can guarantee a certification of destruction and recycling.

If you notice you’ve kept tax information back dating to 2008 or earlier, it’s time that you give us a call. We can help you free up some space in your filing cabinet, and in the process, keep you safe from tax fraud.

Add comment March 14th, 2016

Take The Green Pledge & Make Your Home Eco-Friendly

As the push to go green gets stronger each year here in the GTA, we know many of our clients are looking for ways to make their homes eco-friendly. It can seem like a daunting task, especially when newspapers report on those proactive individuals who outfit their houses with newly installed solar panels, roof insulation, energy efficient appliances, and underfloor heating. Large projects like these can take a huge bite out of your savings.

But running an eco-friendly household doesn’t have to come with an astronomical price tag or a long list of home renovations. In fact, it can wind up saving you money! All you have to do is make minor adjustments to your household’s routine, and the cash and energy savings will start rolling in. In an attempt to help you go green, we’ve collected a few of our favourite eco-friendly tips and broken them down room by room.

Kitchen

If you have a dishwasher, you’re already on the right track. The average appliance uses just over 22 litres per cycle, while Energy Star appliances use 15 litres. Make sure each litre of water goes to use by loading your dishwasher to capacity each time you turn it on.

Some of us don’t have dishwashers, especially if you’re renting an older apartment. Though washing by hand is considered the more wasteful option, you can “greenify” you method to cut down on waste water. Don’t wash each dish individually by running it under the tap. Instead, fill the basin of your sink with soapy water, turning the tap on briefly only to rinse, remembering to turn the tap off when you go back to washing. Better yet, if you have two basins, use one as a washing station and another as a rinsing station. This second sink only needs a shallow depth of water in order to rinse suds off your dishes, saving you water.

Washroom

In this room, the toilet is the reason why your home is getting an ‘F’ on your eco-report. The average toilet uses over 13 litres of water per flush, which means the average person flushes over 70 litres of water down the toilet each day. Installing an ultra-low-flow (ULF) isn’t always in the budget, so try flushing one less time each day. It really adds up!

If your toilet has a leak or has been running longer than normal, roll up your sleeves and be prepared to do some DIY. Or call a local handyman – we won’t tell! Same goes for any leaking taps or showerheads. Fixing all of the leaks in your home can save over 35,000 litres of water each year!

Laundry Room

Like your dishwasher, it’s a good rule of thumb to use your washing machine only when you have a full load. As you wait to collect enough clothes, wear some of your clothing more than once (or twice) before it finds its spot in your laundry bin. Jeans, pants, and over sweaters don’t need to be washed every time you wear them, especially if you haven’t stained them. Once you’ve collected enough clothes to fill your washer, use only cold water with the recommended amount of detergent for your load.

When the weather allows, skip the dryer and hang out your laundry to dry in the sun. It’s an easy way to save on energy, and it’ll get your clothing smeller fresher than ever.

Office

Between the paper you receive in the mail (like spam, bills, and invoices) and the paper you print, your office produces a lot of waste. Set it up so that your various financial institutions, cell phone carrier, and utility providers send you e-bills instead of paper versions.

Unfortunately, a paperless future is still a long way off. Until then, our home offices are going to produce waste. In the meantime, make sure your paper gets properly recycled by registering for our document destruction service. Our mobile trucks will shred all of your bills, documents, and important files as well as old electronics. After our shredding service can guarantee their complete destruction, we transport the shredding waste to a recycling plant.

You can schedule a one-time pick-up as you transition to e-bills or create a regular document shredding schedule. It’s up to you; whichever you choose, you can join the thousands of GTA residents and business owners who have helped us save over 11,000 trees, 17 million litres of water, and 1,400 cubic metres of landfill space.

Call us today if you want to add our shredding services to your household routine. This and our above tips are easy and affordable ways to create an eco-friendly home. You’ll find that once you implement these and any other environmental tips to your routine, your home will be green in more ways than one as you benefit from huge energy and financial savings!

Add comment February 26th, 2016

Identity Theft: It Can Happen While You’re On Vacation

It makes sense that winter is one of the most popular travelling seasons for Canadians. As the temperatures freefall, the winds howl, and the snowflakes accumulate, the idea of leaving the GTA for warmer climates is an appealing proposition. Attractive enough that many of us book flights despite the dismally low Loonie.

Unfortunately, those of us who book our mid-winter vacations are at a greater risk of identity theft.  When we escape the cold for the heat, our guards are down and we rely more heavily on credit cards—making us prime targets for criminals. If you have plans to see other parts of the world in the upcoming months, take a moment to read our tips on how to prevent identity fraud from happening to you.

Digital Devices

Even if your plans include disconnecting from the daily grind to soak up some sun and sip on a piña colada, chances are you’ll bring a few devices with you. In fact, it’s a rarity now to go on holiday without a smartphone, a tablet, or even a laptop.

If you plan on packing these electronics with you, be sure to use them wisely. You have a lot of secure data stored on these devices, including banking apps, financial information, emails, passwords, and other personal information like photographs. Don’t connect to unsecured Wi-Fi networks, as these public networks don’t have the security that’s required to keep your information safe. All it takes is someone with the skill and desire to hack these connections to access your stored data, so only use secured Wi-Fi from sources you trust, like your hotel.

If you’re one of the few people who do, in fact, leave their devices at home don’t use a public computer to check-in with the folks back home or to post a few pics of your trip. You can never be certain about what’s been installed on these computers, and they may have programs that store your passwords. Keep your use of these public computers to simple Internet searches of the area to help improve your trip, and never log into any of your financial or social media accounts.

Security Boxes

When we go travelling, we tend to bring a lot of stuff with us, and some of it is highly confidential. Our wallets (full of credit cards, debit cards, and cash), passports, and electronic devices are just a few of these items. Many of us make the mistake of leaving these items out in the open in our hotel rooms, assuming that it’s a secure space. Unfortunately, there are some people who will take advantage of your trust. Remove the temptation by storing these essential items in a safety deposit box or a security box. If your hotel room can’t supply this kind of security, the next best thing is to keep them on your person at all times, using hidden belts to carry your money and documents.

Your Wallet

Much of what your wallet contains doesn’t have to go on holiday with you. Back at home, you’ll have your full range of credit cards, as well as your OHIP and possibly SIN cards tucked away in its folds. Before you go away on your vacation, be sure to remove these additional cards from your wallet, storing them in a safe place. Keep only the cash and the one credit card that are essential for your trip.

In terms of credit cards, luckily most financial institutions don’t need to be advised of your trip anymore, but it’s a good idea to double check the terms of your card just to be sure. When your bank is aware of your plans, your account won’t raise any flags once it starts being used in a foreign country. However, this does meant that unusual purchases won’t be deemed noteworthy by your bank.

In that case, it’s important that you use your credit card sensibly. Use caution when using ATMs, avoiding those that are unattended without any surveillance. If you must take out cash, use those that are in banks or that have security guards attending them.

These simple yet effective precautions will prevent your fun in the sun from taking a sour turn. As you plan out the details of your trip, don’t forget to notify us if your vacation overlaps with our scheduled document destruction appointment. Just give us a call and we’ll rearrange a better time once you’re home and recovered from your holidays. In the meantime, have a pleasant trip and we’ll see you when you get back!

Add comment February 17th, 2016

Give The Gift Of Security This Holiday

Right now, you probably have at least one person in your life who’s buried by old paper. But there’s nothing vintage about their collection of invoices, contracts, bills, taxes, and personal details. It’s more of a mess than anything as their garage, office, spare room, or basement has been overrun by banker’s boxes full of folders and towering piles of paper. Even their wallets are full to bursting with old receipts and bills!

Perhaps it’s not a paper trail your friend keeps but a digital footprint, and all of their space is taken up by old electronics. Computers long since outdated sit next to dusty keyboards, stacks of CDs and DVDs, and other bits and bobs of long-ago tech. Inside all of it sits the traces of files containing personal and financial information, which is the reason why they haven’t thrown any of it away. They’re well aware of the rising threat of identity theft. Old electronic data is just as susceptible as any physical document, making it a bad idea to dispose of at the side of the curb with the rest of the garbage.

So they can’t throw out their personal documents and electronics, but when space is at a premium, they can’t continuously collect their junk for all eternity either. This is a conundrum that only our residential shredding services can solve, which is a simple yet thoughtful gift for the holidays. Unlike gag gifts that will add to the mess or gift certificates that require them to go out and brave the crowds, our document destruction service is incredibly convenient. Our fully insured and bonded representatives will arrive at your friend’s door whenever it suits your loved one’s schedule. They’ll arrive with one of our mobile shredding trucks, where they’ll personally transport all of the electronics and paper documents. Our trucks have passed NAID certification, and their blades make short work of both electronic and paper documents, destroying them completely before heading towards a secure recycling plant.

Our document destruction process is so secure we present a “Guarantee of Destruction” upon completion, giving our word that any sensitive material is completely and utterly demolished, with no chance of retrieval. Alongside our destruction certificate, we’ll present to your friend a “Guarantee of Recycling”. We’re proud of our commitment to the environment, and we do everything that we can to offset the waste that our industry deals with. Due to our efforts, we’ve managed to save over 1,100 trees and over 1,600 cubic yards of landfill space to date!

Imagine your friend’s surprise to receive such a helpful and thoughtful gift. Not only are they finally rid of the paper and electronics taking over their home, but they’ll finally experience the comfort of a de-cluttered and clean living space. More importantly, as they’re enjoying the full space of their rooms, they’ll feel secure in that their disposed documents and electronics won’t be exposing them to identity theft.

This holiday season, don’t waste money on gifts that your friend doesn’t need or want. Give them the gift of security, with the added benefit of a clean and clutter-free home. Document destruction is an unexpected, useful, and considerate present for those overtaken by junk, so get in touch with us before the holidays start in earnest to book your friend’s first appointment!

Add comment December 15th, 2015

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