Documents You Should Be Shredding
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Knowing what documents to shred, and when to shred them, is an important factor for any business that creates or handles documents containing personally identifiable information (PII). It’s your responsibility to protect your clients and employees from identity theft. To make the task more manageable, here’s a list to help you identify the types of documents you should be shredding.
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA) draws attention to disposing of employee records. Documents that contain personally identifiable information (PII) should be destroyed. These include:
- Credit reports
- Personnel files
- Payroll records
- Insurance policies
- Tax records
FACTA tells us that “any employer whose action or inaction results in the loss of employee information can be fined by federal and state government, and sued in civil court.” Utilize the services of a professional shredding company to have your employees’ records securely shredded when they are no longer needed.
The IRS recommends keeping records that support any business income or deductions until the “period of limitations” expires for that tax return. Typically, many of these records can be destroyed after seven years and include:
- Bank statements
- Balance statements
- Purchase orders
- Client contracts
- Expense reports
An attorney or tax professional can also provide clarity on specific retention periods for your financial records. Work with your shredding company for help determining what financial information should be shredded and when.
The Health Information and Portability and Accessibility Act (HIPAA) governs healthcare providers’ protection of medical records. Fines can be charged by the US Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) for failure to comply. In addition, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) indicates that if any improperly-discarded health information results in a breach of protected health information (PHI), your organization can be fined by the DHS. Work with a HIPAA-compliant shredding company to help prevent a data breach and resulting fines.
You will want to make sure that other business documents are also destroyed, such as:
- Marketing strategies
- Trade secrets
- Branded material
Any expired documents that contain confidential personal, medical, or business information should be destroyed. Using a “shred everything” philosophy removes the burden of deciding what and what not to shred—and the inevitable mistakes that happen.
Wiggins Shredding provides secure shredding to businesses and residents of Pennsylvania and Tri-State New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland with secure shredding. We’re here to help you stay compliant. Call us at 610-692-TEAR (8327) or complete the form on this page for more information and a free shredding service quote.