Each year, approximately 15 million Americans are a victim of identity theft with an average loss of approximately $3,500. If you rent a dumpster, then you are at risk of getting your identity stolen. Why? Americans receive approximately 4 million tons of junk mail each year, and most of these mails are for pre-approved credit cards, bank statements, credit card bills, utility bills—all of which contain your personal information. If the waste is not properly disposed or if the dumpsters are not protected, thieves can easily access this wealth of information to steal your identity.
What Types of Information Can Be Stolen?
Although junk mail may seem like unnecessary paperwork that can be tossed aside, you should think again before simply throwing it into the dumpster. Information that can be collected from junk mail include street addresses, social security numbers, names, telephone numbers, email addresses, bank account information, employment history, and more.
All of these types of information can be used for various purposes like identity theft, employment-related fraud, bank fraud, benefits fraud, loan fraud, tax fraud, and more. You may be held responsible for the damages that are caused by identity theft or your funds may be frozen until the manner is resolved. This can take years.
How Can You Prevent Identity Theft?
In short, stop throwing away your junk mail and be more cautious of what goes into your dumpster. You should also consider taking a look at the type of dumpster that you are renting and the amount of security that it can provide you, along with some of the services that the dumpster rental company can provide. By implementing the following measures, you can protect yourself from identity theft:
- shred all junk mail and important documentation. Don't just throw everything away and expect it to be gone. Before throwing away junk mail and other documentation that contains sensitive information, shred it first, so that the content is unrecognizable.
- choose a dumpster that has a lid and a lock. Find dumpsters with tight-fitting lids, and keep the lids closed at all times. Some dumpsters have locks on them that are designed to prevent unauthorized use. If you know that sensitive document may be going into the dumpster, splurge on a design with a high quality lock. Preventing unauthorized use is much less expensive than dealing with identity theft.
- place the dumpster in a secure environment. Don't just leave your dumpster out in the middle of nowhere, as it can be accessed by just about anyone. It is best to keep the dumpsters in a fenced property in order to deter the dumpsters from being accessed by intruders.
- find a dumpster rental company that has a specific chain of command when handling your waste. Even if intruders are unable to get through to the contents in your dumpster, you want to make sure that employees in the dumpster rental company can't either. Most dumpster rental companies will help you remove the waste as well. Make sure that they offer services with a specific chain of command, so that your waste is always accounted for.
- opt for removal services that will dispose of your waste in a thorough process. If the dumpster rental company is responsible for removing the wastes, make sure that they have processes in place to destroy all paperwork before recycling it.
Think again before you throw out any junk mail or documentation of any kind. Make sure that you protect yourself from identity theft by implementing the measures above and finding a reputable dumpster rental and removal company that can provide you with the security that is needed.