Paper Chase: Shred for a Cause

“Everything we do in the digital realm – from surfing the Web to sending an e-mail to conducting a credit card transaction to, yes, making a phone call – creates a data trail. And if that trail exists, chances are someone is using it – or will be soon enough.”-Douglas Rushkoff, author of “Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus”

The discussion and concern about privacy and security of our personal information is growing.

The rise and fall of Cambridge Analytica and the information it may have gathered and passed along from millions of Facebook accounts has resulted in a wave of Terms of Service emails as companies scramble to protect themselves.

But as much as the author Douglas Rushkoff warns of the trail we all leave on the internet, identity theft often begins in a very low-tech way.

Pieces of mail taken while on a dumpster diving expedition can lead a savvy thief to a treasure trove.  Not only does it threaten your personal security, it but could result in financial ruin.

Identity thieves are a crafty bunch and their motivations can be wide ranging, from posing as a doctor to getting into an Ivy League school.

On May 26th, Shred-Tech in Cambridge will hold its 11th annual “Shred for a Cause” day.

In partnership with Preston Towne Centre, the company will bring in a shredding truck to give you the opportunity to destroy all those personal documents.

Most of us have recently finished our tax returns.  Those documents–from banks, credit cards and more are obvious targets.  As this article points out there are many other pieces of paper you might not consider problematic but can be valuable in the wrong hands.

On Shred Day a grocery bag full of papers will cost $3 to dispatch into confetti. A bankers box will cost just $7.

All proceeds from the day go to United Way Waterloo Region Communities.

According to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, the cost of identity theft in 2008 was more than 7 billion dollars.  And it’s a crime which has been growing.

It is difficult to stay up to date on all the latest scams and fraudulent practices, but a simple step such as destroying personal papers offers some level of protection.