Paper Shredding and its history

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paper shredding service

paper shredding service

 

 

 

The paper shredders that are available today, are used widely in homes and offices for destroying various kinds of documents. These paper shredders are useful in cutting paper into very fine strips or chips so that there are no visible traces of the content on these documents. The shredding benefits of paper are used widely by different government organizations, business and private enterprises and even individuals. Shredding has become one of the best ways to destroy the private papers like credit card bills, bank statements and other private or sensitive documents that are confidential. Shredding of these documents also helps in reducing the risks of identity thefts.

 

The history of the paper shredder goes back to almost a century ago. The first paper shredder had been invented by the prolific Abbot Augustus Low from Horseshoe New York. At that time the device to destroy these paper documents was known as the ‘waste paper receptacle’ and it had also been patented. This device provided a better way of improving the methods of paper disposable and waste paper. The patent had been filed on the 2nd of February, 1909 and the patent for the same was received on the 31st of August with the patent number 929,960. But the invention of Augustus was never manufactured.

 

Then the paper shredder by Adolf Ehinger was made. This shredder had been based on the popular pasta maker and it had been manufactured in Germany in 1935. It is said that Aodlf had to shred some of his anti Nazi propaganda so that inquiries from the authorities could be avoided. The shredder had been marketed to various government and financial agencies. This device was then converted from hand crank to electric motor. The first cross-cut paper shredders had been made in the year 1959 by EBA Maschinenfabrik, which was owned by Adolf. The company continues to make paper shredders till date in the name of EBA Krug & Priester GmbH & Co. in Balingen.

 

The U.S embassy in Iran would use strip cut paper shredders for shredding paper. Till the 1980’s the use of paper shredders had been used mainly by non government institutions. After the 1984 judgment of the Supreme Court, where the court stated that the fourth amendment does not prohibit the warrant-less seizure of garbage from homes, the use of these paper shredders became more popular and are used widely now.

Paper Shredding in Homes

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There are various options for paper shredding in Houston offices, but the need of paper shredding in Houston homes, is equally important and necessary. Like most of the other states the trend of shredding paper has just about set in many homes. Earlier the application of paper shredding in Houston was restricted to the government offices, where confidential papers on national security or other such documents would be shredded. But after the 1984 amendment by the Supreme Court which permitted the seizure of garbage from homes, there has been an increased use of shredding machines in both, homes and offices.

 

There are various reasons why paper shredding in Houston homes is required. One of the most vital reasons is the growing rates of crimes like identity theft. These crimes are the easiest to commit and they also provide for financial crunches which are not even possible with regular crimes. For example, the disposals of your credit card statement in the garbage, can fall into the hands of unwanted people. This would mean that all the information in the statement, including the credit card number, can be misused. The person or people, who get this information can use it to their benefit by using your credit card. The crime would not be detected till you receive the statement from the bank and often the theft can be beyond a payable limit. Any crime can also be committed using your identity, which would also make you the prime suspect in a robbery or a scam.

 

Hence it is always advisable to dispose all documents through shredding in Houston. These shredding machines are easily available and they don’t occupy too much space in the house. They are different from the shredding machines at office and are much lighter in weight. Also the process of shredding your documents through these shredders would take very little time as compared to doing the same manually. Through this process multiple documents can be disposed at one go instead of tearing or cutting each of the documents separately.

 

There are various kinds of documents which can be shredded through these machines. These include documents that have your social security number, credit card statements, details of your bank accounts and pass books, any document which is related to property and is confidential. All of these documents can be destroyed through paper shredding machines. The process is safe and ensures that your confidential documents are not passed to wrong hands.

On-Site Shred provides secure document destruction and paper recycling services in Houston Texas and the surrounding areas.  On-Site Shred also offers mobile document destruction for commercial companies and residents.  If researching a paper shredding service in Houston Texas, make sure the company is a member of NAID.

The Process of Paper Recycling

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The process of paper recycling involves the recovery of waste paper and remaking the same into new kinds of paper products. There are 3 main categories of paper which are used as the feed stocks for recycling paper. These are the pre-consumer waste, mill broke and the post consumer waste. The pre-consumer waste is the material which has been discarded even before the consumer had used it. The mill broke is the paper which is basically the trimmings of paper and other similar kinds of paper scraps which are leftover from the manufacturing of paper. The post consumer paper is the paper which is waste material that has been discarded after the use of the consumer. These include the old magazines, the old telephone directories, various kinds of residential mixed paper and other forms of paper. All paper which is suitable for recycling is known as scrap paper.

 

The process of paper recycling involves various stages. These also depend on the specific type of paper that has to be recycled. These include the mixed office waste, corrugated fiberboard, newspaper and other forms of paper. There are various steps in recycling paper. The first step for paper recycling is the process of pulping. Through this process water is added and applied to the mechanical action of papers so that the fibers can be separated from each other. Then is the process of screening where the screens are used with slots or holes so that the contaminants from the larger pulp fibers can be removed. After this is the process of centrifugal cleaning. Here the spinning the pulp in a cleanser helps the materials to become denser than the pulp fibers. This facilitates their moving outward and being rejected.

 

Through flotation the air bubbles are passed through pulp slurry. The same has a surfactant present which also causes the ink particles to collect along with the foam on the surface. Removing these also helps the pulp to become brighter. There are sometimes steps called de-inking which are included in this process. The kneading or the dispersion process involves mechanical action being applied to the contaminant particles. The small particles of the paper are then removed by passing water through the pulp. In case where white paper is required, bleaching through peroxides or hydrosulfites is done to remove color from the pulp. Then the new paper is made in the same way like the virgin paper. After this the process of dissolved air flotation and waste disposal is done.

On-Site Shred provides paper recycling programs in Houston Texas and the surrounding areas.  On-Site Shred also offers mobile document destruction.  If researching a paper shredding service in Houston Texas, make sure the company is a member of NAID.

Why you should shred your documents

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Earlier,  shredding of documents or papers was not common, in fact a number of people were not even aware of what shredding was. The easiest way of disposing of them was dumping the documents into the garbage bag. But the increase in crime rates, as well as a couple of amendments to certain laws in the U.S, has seen a change in scenario.

 

Paper is always shredded before disposal, in most offices around the country. Even homes are adapting to the new methods of paper disposal. One of the major reasons for this, is to reduce the risk of crimes which are growing, due to misuse of documents which should be disposed. If you do shred your documents, chances are that you could be setting yourself up for some ugly situations.

 

Any paper or document which has not been shred before disposal, can turn out to be a serious problem for the company or an individual. These papers can easily be passed on to wrong hands. There are often certain details and documents about an organization which are private and should not be spilled outside the organization. But if any such document is disposed without shredding, then there are many who can access these documents and also misuse the same. There have been instances in the past where such crucial documents have been found by journalists and media and have led to the defamation of an establishment, as well as individuals. In many cases the general public has benefited from these crimes, but there are instances where private matters have come out in public view.

 

Another problem which occurs if the documents are not shred is the increasing thefts and crimes. The use of details on these documents can also lead to misuse of the same, for committing crimes. This is also known as identity theft, where individuals have to suffer due to the thefts that are committed on their names, even though they haven’t done it. This is because culprits get hold of people’s information through the documents disposed off in the garbage, and then use this information and cause frauds, mislead people and often purchase things on credit cards. The result being that the innocent victim is in big trouble, only because he did not shred his important documents.

 

Hence it is vital that all confidential documents should be shredded before disposal. This helps to reduce the chances of crimes, through the misuse of these documents. The process does not need much time as a lot of documents can be disposed at one go and also because the process of tearing these papers via hand, does not do as good a job that a shredder does.

If you need a shredding company in Houston TX, make sure they are a member company of NAID.

 

Identity thefts can be avoided through shredding in Houston

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The amount of identity thefts has been on the rise over the past few years. Identity thefts refer to the thefts where the private documents of an individual, such as credit card numbers, social security number or any other personal documents, are used by thieves for committing crimes. Identity thefts are committed for various purposes. The main purposes of these thefts are financial. By using the credit card details or other similar details or information of someone else, various products can be bought. Since the credit card number of the owner is being used, he or she is liable for paying the same. There is also another kind of identity theft where the crime is committed using the name or confidential documents of an individual. In these cases the person whose identity has been used is blamed for the crime and can be accused for the same.

 

There are different ways of committing identity thefts. These include stealing of credit cards, hacking Internet accounts or computers and other similar options. But one of the easiest ways of committing these crimes is through picking up the details of the important documents through the garbage. Even though the idea of going through the garbage may seem repulsive to most, this is one of the easiest way of accessing the personal and confidential lives of users. Most of the documents disposed in the garbage are not shredded and hence it is very easy to join the pieces of your torn credit card details and access your account or misuse these numbers.

 

There are various ways through which disposal of garage can be done through shredding in Houston. There are numerous options through which Houston shredding machines can be availed. Different types of shredding machines are available these days. There are some shredders which are used in homes while others are for official purposes. The shredding of documents has become much easier today. The documents which are shredded are fine and thinly stripped or cross cut. Hence there are no chances of the same being misused even if they are put together. Shredding in Houston can be done by buying one of these paper shredders. They come in various sizes and styles and suit the different requirements of users. The ones for offices are usually bigger in size and shape. Hence no matter where you dispose your documents, they should always be shredded.

Document Shredding and it’s importance

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The shredding of documents through the use of paper shredders has become a popular trend these days. There are various reasons for shredding of documents instead of disposing them the regular way.

 

One of the biggest threats posed by the improper disposal of confidential documents is misuse of the same. There has been a rapid increase in identity thefts. These thefts work on the basis of using the identity of another person, for committing various kinds of crimes. These crimes are mainly done for financial benefits. For example, if the credit card statement has been disposed without shredding or tearing the same, then the number of the credit card can be easily accessible to the thieves. Here, they can use the credit card number for their own benefits and purchase various products and charge it to the credit card owner. Often these crimes are not recognized until it is too late and thus the credit card owners have to pay the price for the same.

 

Another common identity theft crime is using the identity of another person for committing crimes in their names. These can be the work of serious master minds and the person whose social security number or any other related document has been used, can get into serious trouble. Hence it is always advised that document shredding is the best way of disposing all private and confidential information.

 

There are various other benefits of the process of document shredding. No traces of previous records are found. Hence the chances of getting into trouble due to any such matters can also be avoided. Document shredding is one of the easiest and the most suggested way of disposing documents. Since multiple documents are being shredded at the same time a lot of time is saved. The process of shredding also ensures that the documents are shredded so finely that no content on them is visible to others. This totally eliminates the risk of misuse of these documents. Also the tearing of documents takes a much longer time and does not give you such fine results. Hence it is always good to use document shredding devices rather than doing it from hand.

 

The document shredding process should not be restricted to offices but should also be used at home. Both places need the proper methods of document shredding because misuse of the same can happen everywhere. This is the best way to avoid identity thefts.

Paper Shredding for Offices

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Paper shredding in offices became a popular trend during the 1980’s. This came after the judgment of the Supreme Court, about the warrant-less seizure and search of garbage left for collection outside homes, was not prohibited. This led to a rapid increase in the sales of these paper shredding machines. Earlier government agencies were the ones who mainly used these paper shredders. But the change in these laws and the risks involved in the disposal of documents without shredding, led to the increased use of these paper shredders.

 

Paper shredding is vital for all offices. There are thousands of documents which are made and discarded in offices every day. These documents can contain confidential information or sensitive statistics which can be detrimental for the company, if it falls in the wrong hands. These documents could be anything, it could be about the non payments of taxes or some scams that had been done at the office or any other confidential issues such as these. If the government or competition companies come across these documents, then there are risks of closure and misuse of these documents also. Hence it is always recommended that offices should always dispose their vital documents through a paper shredder.

 

The paper shredders used in offices are very different from the ones which are used at home. The reason being, that the amount of paper shredding done in offices is much larger than that done at  homes. There are thousands of papers which are disposed through paper shredders every day and the machine should be sturdy enough to handle this pressure. Paper shredding machines used in offices are much bigger in size and shapes and they also dispose of much thicker paper, as compared to the regular paper shredders.

 

It is vital that the paper shredders at office be given maintenance and regular checks. Since these shredders are used more often there should be an instruction document attached near the shredder. This will reduce inappropriate methods of paper shredding that can actually result in shorter life span for the paper shredder. The use of any sharp objects like staples and paper clips in the shredder should be avoided. Regular servicing and oiling are some of the best methods of improving the functions of the paper shredders and also its life span. The blade of the shredder is sharp for both strips and cross cut paper shredders.

An alternative to in-house shredding is to outsource to a mobile paper shredding service.

 

Shredding is Habit Forming

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If identity theft has the ability to radically change your life for the worse, shredding has the ability to preserve your life as you know it. Shredding is important. It’s become like flossing your teeth or exercising every day. We know it’s good for us and it’s the right thing to do, but how many people shred on a regular basis? Some of us do, but not all. The fact remains that we’d all be better off if we flossed and we’d all be better off if we shredded our documents on a regular basis.

 

The documents we come into contact with on a daily basis contain a great deal of personal information, all of it unique to us. That information needs to be protected. It is our own responsibility to take care of this in a timely and regular way. Document Shredding needs to become a habit. Like anything other habit, we need to build the shredding habit.

 

First, we have to buy into the idea that shredding is important. Millions of Americans are the victims of identity theft every year. Many of those spend extraordinary amounts of time (and money) unraveling the theft and trying to regain control of their identity. Being careful and cautious about how your personal information is used online is very important in keeping your identity safe. But until we become an absolutely paperless society, document based theft will continue to be a problem. Once a piece of paper with your personal information on it leaves your possession, you have no control over where it goes or what’s done with it. Shredding documents containing personal information is vital to protecting yourself against identity theft. It is very difficult to un-shred a document. Shredding destroys the information contained in the document then and there. You can be assured that the information goes no further.

 

Once you agree that shredding is very important, decide what sort of shredder you want to be. Are you a daily shredder? Are you a weekly shredder? Are you the sort of procrastinator shredder who makes a pile in the living room of papers to be shredded at a time to be determined later? A good way to remember to shred documents is to set up a shredding time that coincides with paying your bills. If you pay your bills weekly, take a minute or two after each bill paying session and shred the documents you no longer need. File the rest. Do the same if you pay your bills monthly. Make it a habit to shred all receipts at that time as well. Clean out your wallet. Pull the receipts out of your purse. Shred them.

 

Once you get in the habit of shredding unnecessary documents and filing the rest, you’ll feel less anxious about the whole process.

 

While you’re at it, make it a habit to check over your credit card statements carefully each month and to run a credit report on yourself at least once a year. And remember to floss.

 

Paper Shredding – Document Shredding and the Law

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Under U.S. criminal law, the general rule is that ignorance of the law or a mistake of law is not a valid defense to criminal prosecution…

 

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 20, 2009
www.texasattorneygeneral.gov

CONTACT
Press Office at
(512) 463-2050

 

Attorney General Abbott Charges Edinburg Fitness Center With Identity Theft Prevention Act Violations

 

AUSTIN – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has charged an Edinburg fitness center with failing to adequately store and safeguard documents that contained customers’ sensitive personal information. Under the Identity Theft Enforcement and Protection Act, businesses are legally required to implement procedures that ensure customers’ sensitive personal information – including Social Security, Driver’s License, and financial account numbers – is protected from unlawful use or disclosure.

The defendant, Edinburg-based Cornerstone Fitness, closed its McColl Road facility in October 2007. According to the state’s investigation, the defendant hired a moving company to transport equipment, furniture, and business records to its flagship facility on Cornerstone Blvd.

Some time during the next few months, a filing cabinet was discovered in the dumpster behind the defendant’s old McColl Road location. Court documents indicate that customers’ completed Personal Training Service contracts, which include sensitive personal information, were found inside the discarded filing cabinet. The state’s investigation subsequently showed that the defendants lacked records’ retention, management, and disposal policies.

Under the Identity Theft Enforcement and Protection Act, which was authored by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, the defendant faces civil penalties that range from $2,000 and $50,000 per violation. In addition to statutory penalties, the state’s enforcement action seeks an injunction requiring the defendant to implement a comprehensive records management policy.

Although investigators could not confirm whether any personal information was obtained or misused by identity thieves, Cornerstone Fitness customers should carefully monitor bank, credit card and similar financial statements for evidence of suspicious activity. To prevent identity theft, all Texans should obtain annual, cost-free copies of their credit reports.

Texans who wish to file a complaint may contact the Office of the Attorney General at (800) 252-8011 or do so online at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov, where they can also obtain information on identity theft detection and prevention.

FOR OTHER ITEMS ASSOCIATED WITH ATTORNEY GENERAL ANNOUNCEMENTS, ACCESS OAG NEWS RELEASES ONLINE AT WWW.TEXASATTORNEYGENERAL.GOV.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 11, 2008
www.texasattorneygeneral.gov

CONTACT
Press Office at
(512) 463-2050

 

Texas Attorney General Secures Agreements Protecting Texans From Identity Theft

Businesses accused of improperly disposing of records, exposing private information

 

AUSTIN – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott filed an enforcement action against one Rio Grande Valley company and reached agreements with two others that will help protect Texans from identity theft. All three companies were charged with failing to protect and properly discard records containing customers’ sensitive personal information.

Today’s agreements require the two companies to enhance their information-security procedures and training programs. They will also pay a combined total of $145,000 in penalties and attorneys’ fees.

“Identity theft is one of the nation’s fastest growing and costly criminal enterprises,” Attorney General Abbott said. “These cases all involve companies that failed to properly dispose of materials containing their customers’ sensitive personal information. The Office of the Attorney General is committed to enforcing laws that help prevent identity theft.”

To resolve the state’s investigation, GAB Robins, which provides services to insurance carriers, agreed to pay $125,000 in penalties and attorneys’ fees, and improve its information security protocols and employee training program. Under the settlement, $100,000 will fund future identity theft investigations.

The state launched its investigation after a Corpus Christi reporter discovered company records in a dumpster that was not protected by security measures. Documents obtained by OAG investigators contained customers’ personal information, including name, driver’s license number and date of birth.

The second settlement involved B&F Finance McAllen, L.L.C., a loan company managed by Victory Management Services (“VMS”). In that case, B&F improperly disposed of customers’ personal identifying information in a publicly accessible trash receptacle behind its McAllen offices. Despite the unlawful disposal, VMS assured its customers through the company’s privacy notices that it keeps customers’ private personal information in a secure environment and that security procedures are used to protect customer data.

VMS agreed to improve its information security procedures, implement an employee training program, and pay the state $20,000 in civil penalties and attorney’s fees.

The Attorney General also is filing a separate enforcement action against a third company, Nino Tax of Brownsville. The state launched its investigation after the Brownsville Police Department turned over to the OAG five boxes of records that were next to a dumpster behind the defendant’s office. The business records contained approximately 200 customers’ personal identifying information.

Although the investigations have revealed no confirmed incidents of victims’ personal information being obtained or misused by identity thieves, customers whose records may have been contained at the affected locations should carefully monitor bank, credit card and similar financial statements for evidence of suspicious activity. Texans also should obtain free annual copies of their credit reports from www.annualcreditreport.com to guard against this growing crime.

Consumers who wish to file a complaint may contact the Office of the Attorney General at (800) 252-8011 or do so online at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov, where they also can obtain information on identity theft detection and prevention.

FOR OTHER ITEMS ASSOCIATED WITH ATTORNEY GENERAL ANNOUNCEMENTS, ACCESS OAG NEWS RELEASES ONLINE AT WWW.TEXASATTORNEYGENERAL.GOV.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 29, 2008
www.texasattorneygeneral.gov

CONTACT
Press Office at
(512) 463-2050

 

Attorney General Abbott Charges San Antonio Rehab Facility With Unlawfully Dumping Client Records

Treatment Associates cited for exposing medical records of more than 40 clients

 

SAN ANTONIO – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today charged Treatment Associates of Victoria, Inc., with violating the Texas Identity Theft Enforcement and Protection Act. According to court documents, the San Antonio-based drug testing and rehabilitation facility violated a state law that requires businesses to protect their customers’ sensitive information.

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) launched an investigation after reports indicated that Treatment Associates had unlawfully dumped bulk client records in publicly-accessible garbage containers. According to OAG investigators, the defendant exposed 44 clients’ sensitive personal and medical information, including Social Security numbers, private medical history and substance abuse records. The files also contained private information that clients shared during counseling sessions, as well as the personal information of clients’ family members and other third parties.

“Identity theft continues to be one of the most devastating white-collar crimes in the country,” Attorney General Abbott said. “This defendant faces severe penalties for failing to protect its clients’ sensitive personal and medical information. The Office of the Attorney General will continue working to protect Texans from identity thieves.”

Treatment Associates is charged with violating provisions of the 2005 Identity Theft Enforcement and Protection Act, which governs how businesses dispose of their clients’ sensitive personal information. Under the Act, the OAG may seek civil penalties of up to $50,000 per violation. The defendant also faces civil penalties of up to $500 for each abandoned record under Chapter 35 of the Business and Commerce Code, which requires businesses to develop retention and disposal procedures for their clients’ personal information.

Attorney General Abbott also charged Treatment Associates with violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) and the Texas Health and Safety Code for failing to protect clients’ medical privacy. The OAG may seek penalties of up to $20,000 per violation of the DTPA and up to $25,000 per violation under the Health and Safety Code.

Attorney General investigators are working to determine if any exposed data has been used illegally. Clients who interacted with Treatment Associates should carefully monitor bank, credit card and any similar statements for evidence of theft. Customers should also consider obtaining free copies of their credit reports at www.annualcreditreport.com.

Today’s legal action is the latest in a series of efforts by Attorney General Abbott to combat identity theft in Texas, a state the FTC ranks as No. 4 per capita in the incidence of the crime. In 2007 and 2008, the OAG filed several enforcement actions against vendors that carelessly and unlawfully disposed of confidential records containing customers’ personal information. The OAG has obtained more than $2.6 million in civil penalties for future identity theft prosecutions and reached agreements with several businesses to improve their document disposal systems and protect their customers from identity theft.

Attorney General Abbott also launched a consumer-friendly Web site to help Texans prevent or minimize the damage from identity theft. The site, www.texasfightsidtheft.gov, includes helpful resources, including the Identity Theft Victim’s Kit, which offers a step-by-step priority checklist that victims can use as soon as possible to prevent further damage.

Anyone who encounters a business exposing records with personal information, such as Social Security numbers, may call the OAG’s toll-free complaint hotline at (800) 252-8011 or file a complaint online at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.

FOR OTHER ITEMS ASSOCIATED WITH ATTORNEY GENERAL ANNOUNCEMENTS, ACCESS OAG NEWS RELEASES ONLINE AT WWW.TEXASATTORNEYGENERAL.GOV.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 16, 2008
www.texasattorneygeneral.gov

CONTACT
Press Office at
(512) 463-2050

 

Attorney General Abbott Reaches Agreements That Will Help Protect Texans From Identity Theft

Agreed judgments require Select Medical Corp., RadioShack to improve privacy safeguards

 

AUSTIN – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott reached settlement agreements with Select Medical Corp. and RadioShack that will help protect Texans from identity theft. The settlements resolve two state enforcement actions, which charged both defendants with violating state laws governing the disposal of customer records that contain sensitive personal information.

Under the agreements, the state will receive nearly $1.5 million that will ultimately fund future identity theft investigations and prosecutions. Equally important, both defendants will strengthen their existing information security policies by implementing new employee training programs that highlight identity theft prevention and educate staff about proper document destruction protocols. Under Texas law, vendors must take specific precautions before discarding documents that include customers’ bank accounts, driver’s license and Social Security numbers.

“Recognizing that identity theft is one of the nation’s fastest growing criminal enterprises, the Texas Legislature passed laws to protect Texans from this crime,” Attorney General Abbott said. “Under today’s agreements, both defendants will implement new procedures that will better safeguard their customers’ personal information. Equally important, nearly $1.5 million in proceeds from these settlements will be used to fund future identity theft investigations and prosecutions.”

The state’s agreement with Select Physical Therapy Texas L.P. requires the health care provider to amend its existing information security procedures to ensure future compliance with identity theft prevention laws. Select Medical must implement a new training program that educates their Texas employees about newly established privacy procedures and reviews state laws governing the disposal of customer records.

Under the agreement, all Select Medical Texas employees must take the training annually for the next five years. The mandatory course will explain identity theft, its costs to individual customers and the importance of complying with the company’s newly implemented document disposal protocol. To further ensure that employees comply with the new protocol, each of Select Medical’s Texas locations must post signs detailing records storage and disposal requirements. They also must maintain certification records that show each employee’s compliance with the training requirements.

Select Medical agreed to pay the state of Texas $990,000, which includes $100,000 in attorneys’ fees. Under the Identity Theft Enforcement and Protection Act, the remaining sum will be appropriated for the investigation and prosecution of future identity theft cases.

The state opened its investigation into Select Medical after the Levelland Police Department reported that more than 4,000 documents containing customers’ sensitive information were found in garbage containers behind a Select Physical Therapy Texas Limited Partnership location in that city. The records discovered by authorities contained patients’ bank account numbers, sensitive medical evaluations, drug and alcohol testing verification results, plan of care forms, insurance verification sheets, and social and vocational therapy questionnaires.

An agreement with Fort Worth-based RadioShack similarly requires the electronics retailer to enhance its existing information security procedures and implement a new employee training program. RadioShack’s training curriculum will largely mirror the requirements outlined in the state’s agreement with Select Medical. Additionally, RadioShack agreed to conduct unannounced compliance audits at all of its Texas stores at least twice a year. RadioShack agreed to pay the state $630,000, which includes $50,000 in attorneys’ fees. Under the Identity Theft Enforcement and Protection Act, the remaining sum will be appropriated for the investigation and prosecution of future identity theft cases.

The state’s enforcement action against RadioShack began when state investigators learned that the retailer’s Portland location exposed thousands of customers’ personal identifying information by dumping sensitive records into a publicly accessible trash can. Documents recovered from the trash included a customer’s 1998 credit application and a receipt for a shredder one customer purchased to prevent identity theft. The records contained customers’ Social Security numbers, credit and debit card information, names, addresses and telephone numbers.

Although neither investigation revealed confirmed incidents of personal information being obtained or misused by identity thieves, customers whose records may have been contained at the affected locations should carefully monitor bank, credit card and similar financial statements for evidence of suspicious activity. Texans should also annually obtain free copies of their credit reports from www.annualcreditreport.com to guard against this growing crime.

Consumers who wish to file a complaint may contact the Office of the Attorney General at (800) 252-8011 or do so online at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov, where they can also obtain information on identity theft detection and prevention.

FOR OTHER ITEMS ASSOCIATED WITH ATTORNEY GENERAL ANNOUNCEMENTS, ACCESS OAG NEWS RELEASES ONLINE AT WWW.TEXASATTORNEYGENERAL.GOV.

 

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 8, 2008
www.texasattorneygeneral.gov

CONTACT
Press Office at
(512) 463-2050

 

Attorney General Abbott Reaches Agreement to Protect Check ‘N Go Customers from Identity Theft

Agreed judgment requires Check ‘N Go to improve document disposal process

 

EL PASO – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today reached an agreement with CNG Financial Corp. and its subsidiaries, Check ‘n Go of Texas, Inc. and Southwestern & Pacific Specialty Finance, Inc., to protect Texas customers from identity theft. The settlement resolves the state’s May 2007 enforcement action, which charged the defendants with violating laws that govern the disposal of customer records containing sensitive personal information.

Under an agreed final judgment obtained by the Attorney General, Check ‘n Go will overhaul its information security program. The program must be fully documented in writing and contain administrative, technical and physical safeguards designed to protect the personal information of Check ‘n Go customers. Check ‘n Go also will pay $220,000 to the State of Texas, which will be appropriated for the investigation and prosecution of future identity theft cases, pursuant to the Identity Theft Enforcement and Protection Act.

“Today’s agreement ensures that Check ‘n Go stores will implement new procedures to prevent identity theft,” Attorney General Abbott said. “In 2005, the Texas Legislature enacted an important law to help curb one of the nation’s fastest growing crimes. The Office of the Attorney General will continue working to prevent identity theft by aggressively enforcing laws that protect customers’ confidential information.”

Under its agreement with the state, Check ‘n Go must implement a new training program to inform its Texas employees about the company’s enhanced information security procedures. The employee training program must provide employees with a review of Check ‘n Go’s privacy procedures as well as state laws governing the disposal of customer records. The training program also must explain how identity theft harms individual consumers and businesses and the importance of abiding by the company’s disposal program.

The Office of the Attorney General took legal action against the defendants in May 2007 after discovering that several Check ‘n Go stores exposed customers to identity theft by discarding business records in easily accessible trash cans. According to the Attorney General’s enforcement action, the records included financial records and bank statements that contained names, addresses, Social Security and driver’s license numbers, and checking account information.

Under the new procedures, the defendants must designate an employee from its corporate office to oversee compliance with privacy protection laws. Store employees must be allowed to anonymously report any failures to comply with the program to the designated corporate-based employee. For two years, the compliance representative must forward a sworn statement to the Office of the Attorney General certifying that Check ‘n Go has instituted and satisfied the required employee training.

To further assure that employees comply with the program, each Check ‘n Go store must post signs explaining proper records storage and disposal procedures. Today’s judgment also requires Check ‘n Go to conduct unannounced compliance checks at each of its stores every six months.

Although the investigation revealed no confirmed incidents of personal information being misused, Check ‘n Go customers should carefully monitor bank, credit card and any similar financial statements for evidence of suspicious activity. All consumers should also annually obtain free copies of their credit reports to guard against this growing crime.

Today’s legal action is the latest in a series of efforts by Attorney General Abbott to combat identity theft in Texas, which the FTC ranks second in the nation for reported incidents of the crime. In 2007 and 2008, the Attorney General filed several enforcement actions against vendors that carelessly and unlawfully disposed of their customers’ confidential records. The state’s enforcement actions charged the defendants, including a national health services provider, with violating a 2005 law that requires vendors to protect records that might include Social Security and bank account numbers.

Anyone who encounters a business exposing records with personal information, such as Social Security numbers, may call the Attorney General’s toll-free complaint hotline at (800) 252-8011 or file a complaint online at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.

FOR OTHER ITEMS ASSOCIATED WITH ATTORNEY GENERAL ANNOUNCEMENTS, ACCESS OAG NEWS RELEASES ONLINE AT WWW.TEXASATTORNEYGENERAL.GOV.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 10, 2008
www.texasattorneygeneral.gov

CONTACT
Press Office at
(512) 463-2050

 

Texas Attorney General Takes Action Against National Health Services Provider to Protect Consumers From Identity Theft

Select Physical Therapy Texas Limited Partnership cited for exposing customers’ medical records

 

LEVELLAND – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott took legal action today against Select Physical Therapy Texas Limited Partnership and its parent company, Select Medical Corporation, for systematically exposing their customers to identity theft risk. According to documents filed by the Attorney General, the defendants violated a 2005 law requiring them to protect any consumer records that contain sensitive information, including Social Security and bank account numbers.

Investigators with the Office of the Attorney General discovered that Select Physical Therapy Texas Limited Partnership, formerly known as HealthSouth Rehabilitation Center, exposed more than 4,000 pieces of its customers’ sensitive information, including Social Security numbers. The state’s investigation was launched after reports from the Levelland Police Department indicated that bulk customer records were dumped in garbage containers behind a local building. Select Physical Therapy Texas Limited Partnership occupied the building until closing its office in October 2007.

According to Attorney General investigators, the records also contained credit and debit card information, names, addresses, and telephone numbers. The boxes also contained copies of checks from several large corporations who contracted with Select Physical Therapy Texas Limited Partnership to conduct employee physicals and drug screenings. Investigators also discovered sensitive medical information among the records, including initial evaluation and plan of care forms, insurance verification sheets, drug and alcohol testing verification forms, and social and vocational therapy questionnaires.

“The defendants are charged with improperly – and unlawfully – disposing of sensitive personal information, including medical records,” Attorney General Abbott said. “By failing to comply with the Identity Theft Enforcement and Protection Act, the defendants not only violated the law, they exposed their customers to identity theft. We are grateful to the Levelland Police Department for vigilantly uncovering and reporting the improper disposal of these sensitive records.”

Select Physical Therapy Texas Limited Partnership and Select Medical Corporation are accused of violating provisions of the 2005 Identity Theft Enforcement and Protection Act, which requires businesses to protect and properly dispose of clients’ sensitive personal information. The Act gives the Office of the Attorney General authority to seek penalties of up to $50,000 per violation.

The Attorney General also charged Select Physical Therapy Texas Limited Partnership and Select Medical Corporation with violating Chapter 35 of the Business and Commerce Code, which requires businesses to develop retention and disposal procedures for their clients’ personal information. The law provides for civil penalties of up to $500 for each abandoned record.

Attorney General investigators are also working to determine if any exposed data has been used illegally. Consumers who interacted with the Levelland business should carefully monitor bank, credit card and any similar statements for evidence of theft. Customers should also consider obtaining free copies of their credit reports.

The case is one of several identity theft enforcement actions filed by the Office of the Attorney General. In 2007, Attorney General Abbott filed a similar action against Minnesota-based Life Time Fitness and its subsidiaries for improperly discarding customer records in easily accessible trash cans. He also filed identity theft actions against CVS Pharmacy and RadioShack for improperly dumping customer records.

Attorney General Abbott also obtained temporary injunctions against CNG Financial Corporation, which operates Check ‘n Go stores across Texas, and Texas-based EZPAWN and EZMONEY Loan Services to improve their document disposal systems and protect their customers from identity theft.

Consumers who wish to file a complaint may contact the Office of the Attorney General at (800) 252-8011 or file a complaint online at www.oag.state.tx.us. Consumers can also obtain information on how to detect and prevent identity theft.

FOR OTHER ITEMS ASSOCIATED WITH ATTORNEY GENERAL ANNOUNCEMENTS, ACCESS OAG NEWS RELEASES ONLINE AT WWW.TEXASATTORNEYGENERAL.GOV.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 1, 2007
www.texasattorneygeneral.gov

CONTACT
Press Office at
(512) 463-2050

 

Texas Attorney General Takes Action Against National Health Spa Chain for Exposing Customer Records

Life Time Fitness cited for unlawfully dumping identifying information of adults, children

 

DALLAS – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott took legal action Tuesday against Minnesota-based Lifetime Fitness and its subsidiaries, LTF Club Management Company, L.L.C. and LTF Club Operations Company, Inc., for systematically exposing its customers to identity theft. According to documents filed by the Attorney General, Lifetime Fitness violated the law by repeatedly failing to protect customer records that contain sensitive personal information, including Social Security and credit card account numbers.

Investigators with the Office of the Attorney General discovered that several Life Time Fitness facilities in the Metroplex area exposed customers’ personal identifying information by discarding customer records in easily accessible trash cans behind the stores. According to investigators, the records included names, addresses, Social Security and driver’s license numbers, and credit and debit card information. Because the defendants offer child care and youth recreational facilities, the discarded documents also included names and dates of birth of several minors.

“Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States,” Attorney General Abbott said. “Texans expect their personal information to remain confidential. The Office of the Attorney General will take all necessary steps to protect consumers from identity thieves.”

The defendants are accused of violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) and the 2005 Identity Theft Enforcement and Protection Act, which requires the safeguarding and proper destruction of clients’ sensitive personal information. Under the law, the Office of the Attorney General has the authority to seek penalties of up to $25,000 per violation of the DTPA and $50,000 per violation of the Identity Theft Enforcement and Protection Act.

The Attorney General also cited the defendants with violations of Chapter 35 of the Business and Commerce Code, which requires businesses to develop retention and disposal procedures for their clients’ personal information. The law provides for civil penalties of up to $500 for each abandoned record.

Today’s legal action also cites Life Time Fitness with unrelated violations of the Health Spa Act for operating several Texas locations without being registered with the Secretary of State. Under the Act, Lifetime Fitness can face penalties of up to $1,000 per violation.

The Office of the Attorney General is investigating whether any exposed data has been used illegally. Consumers who interacted with Life Time Fitness facilities should carefully monitor bank, credit card and any similar statements for evidence of suspicious activity. Customers should also obtain free copies of their credit reports.

Consumers who wish to file a complaint may contact the Office of the Attorney General at (800) 252-8011 or do so online at www.oag.state.tx.us, where they can also obtain information on identity theft detection and prevention.

FOR OTHER ITEMS ASSOCIATED WITH ATTORNEY GENERAL ANNOUNCEMENTS, ACCESS OAG NEWS RELEASES ONLINE AT WWW.TEXASATTORNEYGENERAL.GOV.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knowledge of the law is an essential part to business success…

Shredding – Can you afford not to?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Document Destruction/Paper Shredding – Why it is important.

Shredding services No Comments

 

The phrase document destruction brings up a vision of espionage; smoke filled rooms with people being interrogated, and corporate cloak and dagger activities. Document destruction is something that the government does or big business. Document destruction is not something that the ordinary, average person has to worry about, right?

 

Wrong. Personal information is at a premium these days. Identity theft is big business and having your identity stolen can radically alter your life. We’ve all heard stories of a friend of friend whose sister pretended to be her and took out a credit card in her name and ran up a big bill. But we’ve also heard stories of the person who went into the bank to withdraw money only to find out that all the money had been taken out of his account and someone with his name now owns a home on the Jersey Shore. Imagine the time and energy necessary to get yourself out of that mess?

 

Once we recognize that document shredding is the responsibility of each individual, we can take on the task and do it successfully with relatively little effort. Start with obtaining a good quality personal shredder. Do a little research on the types of shredders out there. Take some time to think about how you want to use your shredder. Are you going to be shredding multiple pages at one time? Are you going to be shredding a little bit every day or are you the type to have a marathon shredding session every few weeks? Do you have little children in the house for whom a shredder could be dangerous? Choose a shredder according to your needs. There are many different choices out there.

 

The next step is choosing which documents to destroy. Nobody wants to go overboard and start shredding everything, but take some time to look at the papers you usually recycle or wad up and throw in the trash. If the document has a your signature on it, it makes sense to shred it. If the document has any personal information on it at all, shred it. If the document has account information on it, whether it’s partial or complete, shred it. If you think that someone might possibly use the information on the document in any way, it makes sense to shred it. It is, in this instance, better to shred than be sorry later.

 

Once you’ve made the decision about which papers to shred, get to it. Shred often. Shred daily if you need to. Shred weekly. Make a pile that needs to be shredded and get your kids to shred it for you. But follow through. Destroy the documents. Completely.

 

Once the documents have been destroyed, dispose of them responsibly. Recycle the paper; don’t throw it away. It might make sense to you to bag the shredded paper separately so that you’re not recycling it all at the same time in the same place. That makes it harder for a thief to un-shred a document.

 

Document destruction is a fact of life for us now. It’s not just something exotic we see on TV or read about in the newspaper. It’s an important part of keeping our identities safe.

 

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