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5 Commonly Overlooked Documents That Should Be Destroyed

5 Commonly Overlooked Documents That Should Be Destroyed

As a business owner, you know that certain documents are sensitive and require secure storage and destruction. These could include financial records, contracts, and personal information documents for employees and clients. However, there are also some documents that you may overlook when creating your document retention and destruction policy. This blog post highlights five commonly overlooked documents that should be destroyed to prevent identity theft, data breaches, and legal liabilities.

Expired IDs and Passports

Expired identification documents, such as driver’s licenses, passports, and visas, require secure destruction because they contain personal information that criminals can use for identity theft. Even if expired, they can still provide valuable information to cybercriminals or fraudsters. Using a shredder or secure destruction service is necessary to ensure that no one can reconstruct these documents or use them against you or your clients.

Electronic Devices

Many businesses upgrade their electronic devices regularly, such as computers, printers, and copiers, and dispose of the old ones. However, they may contain sensitive data that hackers and thieves can retrieve. Therefore, it’s crucial to erase or destroy the hard drives and memory before disposing of them. You could also consider using a certified e-waste recycling service that securely destroys the data as well as the equipment.

Canceled Checks

Canceled checks may seem like useless documents once processed, but they can still contain valuable information, such as bank account numbers, names, and signatures. People can use them for fraud or identity theft, especially in cases of corporate account takeover. Therefore, destroying canceled checks after three years or after the statute of limitations for tax audits and other legal matters has expired is advisable.

Employment Applications

Employment applications often contain sensitive information. This may include social security numbers, academic records, and criminal history. As a result, they can become targets for identity thieves. Even if a business doesn’t hire an applicant, they should destroy their information securely or keep it confidential to prevent data breaches. Companies should use secure shredders or secure document shredding services for employment applications that they no longer need.

Internal Memos

Internal memos or emails may contain confidential passwords, financial reports, or trade secrets that should not fall into the wrong hands. To avoid this, create a clear policy on how long to retain internal memos or emails before destruction. Also, train employees on proper document handling procedures. The destruction of sensitive internal communications after a specified period is needed, as their simple deletion from digital systems is not enough to retain a high level of security.

Adopt a Comprehensive Document Retention and Destruction Policy

As a business owner or decision-maker, sensitive documents are your responsibility. However, commonly overlooked or less obvious documents should undergo destruction so that they don’t fall into the wrong hands. Adopting a comprehensive document retention and destruction policy covering all document types limits your liability and protects your business and clients from harm. Work with a certified and trustworthy document destruction service provider to ensure that you have your documents and electronic devices destroyed safely and compliantly.