All Points Mobile Shredding Blog
The Data You’re Giving Away
How scammers get your information
Have you ever wondered how solicitors get your personal information? Think about the abundance of fake emails, unsolicited phone calls, junk mail and other items that you receive that have your name, address, email, and other personal information. The fact is, while these unscrupulous folks are experts at stealing people’s identifying information, very often you are giving away your personal information without even realizing it. Here’s how:
Entering online contests
Online contests that offer thousands of dollars in cash and prizes can be very enticing—but they’re also a way that scammers can learn a lot about you. Things like your name, age, gender, email, whether you own a home, that you are looking to buy a car, that you like to travel, etc. are things they can learn just by your entry.
Tip: Choose not to answer those questions that don’t relate to the entry, especially personal data that is not needed.
Warranty cards—mail-in or online
There’s nothing wrong with filling out a warranty card for a new item you’ve purchased, in fact, it’s the responsible thing to do, especially if it’s a large ticket item. But when your annual salary and other personal questions are asked, it’s likely that your information is being sold to others, legitimately or as a part of a scam.
Tip: When filling these out, also opt to not share anything else but the pertinent information.
Many legitimate companies ask their customers to fill out surveys after a purchase or a service has been performed. Feedback is a big part of today’s business model in an effort to improve the customer experience. But it’s not uncommon for collected survey data to be sold to third parties, in fact, believe it or not, it’s a profitable business these days. When filling out a survey about your experience at a restaurant or your stay at a hotel, questions that seem too personal usually are, like do you own a home or what kind of car you drive.
Tip: Most credible surveys will offer a “choose not to answer” option for those questions that don’t apply, always go with that to avoid unwanted solicitors later.
Social media posts
Those who are looking to target you in a scam are also looking at your social media feed. If your posts are public scammers can see what you’re up to just by scrolling on your timeline. Info like what city you live in, whether or not you’re married, have children, where and when you’re traveling, etc. can all be accessed just by checking out your feed.
Tip: Keep your feed private and don’t post personal information that you don’t want strangers to know, especially real-time updates of your whereabouts.
Sounds incredulous, but obituaries are an optimal place for scammers. This tribute, which is meant to celebrate a loved one, is chock full of information, including the vulnerable family members left behind.
Tip: Experts agree it’s best to leave personal information to a minimum when writing an obituary—those who know you and the family already know who’s who.
Throwing away mail
Garbage to you is a goldmine to scammers. Any mail that has your name, address, account numbers or other personal information should never be thrown in the trash. Even junk mail that you’ve never opened can provide thieves with tidbits of information that is just enough for them to launch a scam or steal your identity.
Tip: Always shred these items to ensure that dumpster divers won’t get their hands on it.
Protecting your identity can seem like an arduous task, but if you are vigilant about taking the necessary steps, you can reduce your risk greatly. When it comes to shredding outdated paperwork, unneeded documents, and junk mail, turn to us at All Points Mobile Shredding. We provide full-service onsite shredding and destruction, including old hard drives and devices. Give us a call at 772.283.4152 to find out more or fill out a quote request today.