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Why International Fraud Awareness Week is Important

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Hand pulling paper with the word, "Confidential" printed in red on it out of a hanging folder in a file cabinetImportant Statistics

46% of surveyed organizations reported experiencing fraud, corruption, or other economic crimes in the last 24 months. Those odds are a clear indication of the importance of fraud awareness initiatives. While protecting against fraud is a round-the-clock requirement, International Fraud Awareness Week encourages us to know the facts, evaluate the health of our own security protocols, and stay up to date with current recommendations.

What Is International Fraud Awareness Week?

International Fraud Awareness Week, observed this year from November 13-19, is the global effort to minimize the impact of fraud by promoting anti-fraud awareness and education. The intent is to educate business owners, managers, and employees about what fraud is, how to recognize it, how to protect against it, and why working together to stop it is vital.

What is Fraud?

Fraud is an act of deception for personal gain or the intent to cause loss to someone else. It is a criminal offense. If we don’t invest in fighting fraud, it will still cost your business financially, affecting every employee and your bottom line.

Types of Fraud

Fraud appears in many forms. One common type of fraud is identity theft, which can happen when printed documents aren’t protected from unauthorized individuals. Whether or not those individuals choose to use the information on those documents for personal gain, your business is legally liable for the data breach, can be fined by the government, and must notify everyone affected by the breach. If affected individuals experience loss as a result of the data breach, the legal action and related costs could result in disaster for your company.

Documents that aren’t properly destroyed at the end of their lifecycle provide tempting opportunities for identity thieves. To thwart fraud, avoid these common errors:

  • Tossing documents straight into the garbage or recycling bin. Instead, follow a “shred everything” policy, having all paper professionally shredded. This includes handwritten sticky notes, scrap paper, junk mail, anything with an address label, banking receipts, travel documents, receipts, and more. Thieves will utilize a combination of information from different documents to apply for credit cards, driver licenses/government ID cards, withdraw money from bank accounts, apply for benefits and obtain healthcare services, and much more.
  • DIY shredding seems like the perfect solution, however, the machines themselves and especially the process involved in in-house shredding still leaves you wide open to fraud. Even if your employees overcome the desire to avoid the frustrating, noisy, tedious shredding machine, thieves are perfectly willing to reassemble the shredded paper in your dumpster to find the information they are looking for. Instead, documents should be shredded beyond recognition using industrial-strength equipment and the shredded paper mixed with thousands of pounds of shredded paper from other sources so reconstruction is impossible.
  • Not protecting documents from the moment they are created to the moment they are destroyed. By following document security best practices, a “shred everything” policy, and partnering with a reputable shredding company, you can protect information throughout its lifecycle. The right shredding provider will provide you with locked shred collection containers to toss documents and whole files into with no need to remove staples, paperclips, or file folders. Simply drop into the locked container where it is kept secure until a mobile shredding truck destroys it on site at your business on a schedule tailored to your needs.
  • Don’t store or dispose of any obsolete hard drives, electronic storage media, or other electronics. Thieves can recover sensitive information on these, even if the data has been erased. Have these devices shredded by an e-destruction service to ensure that your digital information is protected along with your hard copy documents.

International Fraud Awareness week is the perfect time to take action and protect your business, clients, and employees from data theft.

Wiggins Shredding provides secure, mobile shredding and destruction services to the businesses and residents of Pennsylvania and Tri-State Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey. Give us a call at 610-692-TEAR(8327) or by complete the form on this page to tell us about your needs. Our friendly shredding experts are standing by!

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