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3 Categories of Documents You Should Be Shredding
Some documents must be stored forever, but that doesn’t mean you should hold onto every last piece of paper indefinitely. When it comes to protecting your employees and customers from identity theft, document shredding is just as important as document storage. Below is our helpful list of documents you should shred.
Financial documents carelessly tossed in a dumpster are free for the taking, and too often, thieves do exactly that. To prevent your business from becoming a fraud victim, shred the following documents when you’re done with them:
- Bank statements
- Corporate credit card statements
- Sales forecasts
- Contracts and leases
Tax returns and supporting tax documents such as receipts, invoices and canceled checks should be kept for seven years and then shredded. However, it’s best to consult with your accountant to confirm state and federal retention requirements before shredding documents.
If you’re a healthcare provider or entity that stores, receives, creates or maintains protected health information (PHI), secure document disposal is required by law. The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act states that improperly-discarded documents and data are considered a security breach. This means that if you discard a medical record in a trash can, for instance, and it results in a breach of PII, your organization can be fined by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) Office of Civil Rights (OCR). As a result, obsolete medical records and patient related documents should always be shredded.
Employee and Customer Records
Just as HITECH addresses the disposal of PHI, The Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA) addresses the disposal of employee and consumer records. The law states that “any employer whose action or inaction results in the loss of employee information can be fined by federal and state government, and sued in civil court.” As a result, documents with personally-identifiable information (PII) should be shredded, such as:
- Credit reports
- Personnel files
- Payroll records
- Insurance policies
If in doubt, keep documents with names, addresses, email addresses, telephone numbers or credit card information only as long as needed, then shred them.
Remember: You’re not in this alone. A professional paper shredding service ensures prompt disposal of financial, medical, employee and customer information. Secure collection containers are placed in your office enabling confidential documents to be quickly dropped inside. On a scheduled basis, your documents are collected and destroyed either on-site at your facility or off-site at a secure shredding plant.
Records Management Center provides professional shredding and destruction solutions for businesses throughout Augusta, Evans, Thomson, and Martinez, GA, and Aiken, SC and the Central Savannah River Area. For more information, please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.