Canadian Security Magazine

Recycling bins a source of white-collar crime

By Canadian Security   

News Data Security fraud recycling ShredIt

March marks the beginning of Fraud Prevention Month and Shred-it is taking the opportunity to encourage Canadian businesses to protect themselves against white-collar criminals targeting confidential information, and join them in a campaign to remove office recycling bins.

The primary purpose of the recycling bin is to dispose of documents and given much of the information recycled within office environments today is confidential, recycling bins create a hotbed of opportunity for white-collar criminals.

“In my combined 38 year of public and private policing I’ve seen it happen many times. The biggest enemy companies face is the enemy within, which is why recycling confidential information or simply throwing documents in the garbage is a risky decision that leaves a company open to costly fraud,” said Ron Wretham, CEO, Investigative Solutions Network Inc. “When you factor in the cost of recouping the damages of the fraud itself and the cost of investigating and improving security measures, it is clear that organizations must ensure employees are destroying documents in a safe and secure manner. ”

According to recent reports, more than a third of Canadian organizations fall victim to white-collar crime. In fact, 36 per cent of Canadian organizations said they were hit by white-collar crime in 2013, compared with 32 per cent in 2011.  Further, more often than not – in 61 per cent of reported crimes – the perpetrator is someone inside the organization.

“Because most organizations do not have a policy for storing and disposing of confidential information, employees are often left to determine how to dispose of documents, said Mike Skidmore, Chief Security & Privacy Officer at Shred-it. Replacing office recycling bins with locked shredding bins removes the decision-making process and eliminates risk of fraud. And, because shredded material is still recycled, organizations are able to protect their information, decrease exposure to fraudulent activity and maintain their commitment to recycling and the environment.”


Shred-it is suggesting the following tips to help manage and dispose of confidential documents:

·         Demonstrate a top-down commitment from management to the total security of your business and customer information
·         Establish a formal information security policy; train employees to know the policies well and follow them rigorously
·         Identify security loopholes at every stage of the information cycle, from data generation and storage to the transfer of data from location to location and eventually to document destruction
·         Introduce a “shred-all” policy, where documents are carefully destroyed on a regular basis
·         Introduce special locked consoles instead of recycling bins
·         Conduct periodic security audits. If you don’t have the resources to implement a secure document destruction program, work with a reliable third-party vendor
March Fraud Prevention month is a time where everyone can be reminded and make a difference by helping to protect confidential information and prevent fraudulent activities from affecting Canadians.

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