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Could your personal documents end up as confetti?

The day police records dropped from the sky

Ever wonder where all that confetti comes from during the Macy’s Day Parade in New York City? According to Macy’s, the more than two tons of paper bits that’s released into the crowds is made from manufactured, multi-colored paper. But during the famous Thanksgiving day event in 2012, parade-goers spotted something unusual in the confetti that poured down—names, social security numbers, license plate numbers, birthdates and other very confidential information. A curious and alarming discovery, the shredded documents were later identified as those belonging to the Nassau County Police Department in New York.

Where do your shredded docs go?

This breach leads to other questions when it comes to shredding—including is it possible for shredded documents to end up in a public place or worse yet, in the hands of an unscrupulous person who could possibly reconstruct them? The answer is—it depends. Because if you’re shredding your own confidential documents for your company or your personal records on a strip-shredder (the least secure method), it’s going to be up to you where those docs end up once they’re destroyed. And, if you don’t take the right steps, no one can really guarantee that they won’t be mishandled, or snatched up by the wrong people.

Can shredded documents be reconstructed?

Although it may seem far-fetched, there have been several high profile “reconstruction” cases in the past including the Iran Hostage Crisis event that took place in 1979. In this case, Iranian students took over the US Embassy after the CIA had vacated and subsequently spent years piecing back together the shredded documents that were left behind.  The documents included highly sensitive information, which was then released to the public and ended up causing issues for US Intelligence and national security for many years. The blockbuster movie Argo, further publicized the scandal and gave all of us a clue as to what could happen if highly confidential information is breached. And, even though new technologies exist that can make the process of reconstruction easier and less time-consuming, the commercial shredding process has changed as well—evolving from a simple vertical shred to a pierce and tear or cross-cut process, which creates hundreds or thousands of tiny shreds, making reconstruction exponentially more difficult.

Preventing a risky error

Although the possibility of reconstructing shredded documents is slim, the fact that it exists presents a risky scenario. To ensure your confidential information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, it’s best to work with a licensed and insured shredding provider who will follow protocol for shredding and destruction.

As a NAID AAA Certified shredding and destruction provider, All Points Mobile Shredding can ensure that your documents will be permanently destroyed and safely discarded. When you choose our onsite mobile shredding service we come to your home or office and manage the entire process. Your documents are immediately shredded, then baled and recycled. You’re able to witness the entire process and are given a certificate of destruction to provide you with further peace of mind.

With our ever-changing, highly technical universe, it’s critical to maintain a rigorous schedule to protect your personal and business identity. Shredding paperwork and outdated hard drives and other devices is a key component to keeping your sensitive information safe. Talk to us about how we can help by calling 772.283.4152 or filling out our quote request form.

Dawn Connelly

Dawn Connelly

Dawn is the vice president of All Points Mobile Shredding. All Points Mobile Shredding is a family-owned and operated on-site document destruction company that has been serving the Treasure Coast, Palm Beaches, and surrounding areas since 1994.
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