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With identity theft on the rise, most of us and our customers are incredibly aware of protecting our personal information: Bank account numbers, credit card numbers, financial statements, medical information, etc. Many individuals routinely shred unneeded banks statements, credit card statements, credit card solicitations, receipts, etc. They do so to protect their identity. For individuals, it's smart.
For businesses, protecting customer information is also the law.
The Fair and Accurate Credit and Transactions Act (FACTA) now makes it a requirement for businesses to destroy personal information obtained from customers and employees before it can be discarded.
What does that mean to you? If you don't have a shredder, you need one. Whether you own a multi-million dollar business, need to hire a nanny, or anything in between, If you obtain personal information about an employee or customer, you must destroy any information you no longer need:
For example, you may have:
No matter how you have received them, if you decide to throw documents away, you must destroy them first. But that's just the start. To protect information you don't plan to dispose of:
What happens if you don't protect customer information adequately? You could face:
Fines and lawsuits aside, protecting your customer's personal information is just good business.
But no matter what other steps you take, buy a shredder today if you don't have one. Shredders come in all sizes and price ranges, ranging from large industrial shredders costing thousands of dollars to small "personal" shredders costing around $30. For most small business needs, a heavy-duty personal shredder should be just fine.
Business owners should also think hard about implementing the other recommended policies and procedures. The same practices you should be using to safeguard customer information can be used to keep your company's financial, customer, and business information safe and secure from theft or misuse. As a result you will be protecting your customers and your business.