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Financial Institutions are Insistent on Confidential Document Destruction

Most credit union customer and employee files contain sensitive information such as Social Security numbers. This information is often necessary to fulfill loan requests, complete payroll or perform other necessary business functions. However, when sensitive data falls into the wrong hands, it can lead to fraud and identity theft. In 2011, 11.6 million U.S. adults were victims of identity theft, and the average identity fraud victim incurred $354 in costs to resolve the problem.

Managing the destruction of customer and employee records is critical to prevent information from falling into the wrong hands. Not only can a data breach impose a major inconvenience on members of the credit union and cost thousands of dollars in fines, but it can also diminish a financial institution’s reputation and credibility. Bad publicity, legal fees and law suit settlements can cost your business millions of dollars. According to the Ponemon Institute, in 2011, the average cost per breach for a business was $5.5 million.

Once records are no longer needed, it is important to shred all confidential and sensitive information. Partner with a secure shredding provider such as Cintas, which is AAA NAID-certified and PCI-DSS compliant, to ensure privacy, security and compliance. A provider will place secure shredding containers in accessible and identifiable locations to make it secure and convenient for all employees to properly shred documents that have reached the end of their useful lives. On a routine basis, the provider will collect the confidential paper and securely shred it on or off-site depending on the preference of credit union management. Once shredding is complete, a certificate of destruction will be provided for a legal audit trail.

Additionally, consider hosting a shred event at your business. This not only helps you protect against identity theft, but it is also a great marketing tool to reach new members and is a service you can provide existing customers. Shred events are often one-day events held over the weekend where community members are invited to bring their old tax returns, credit card statements or other documents containing sensitive information to be securely shredded on-site by a document management provider. You can also look for opportunities with the press to leverage your shred event and build awareness for identity theft. While these events generate awareness of proper document management techniques and provide community members with a secure method to safely dispose information, it also provides them with the peace of mind that their sensitive information will not end up in the wrong hands.