If you have never used a shredding company before then you probably have a mountain of documents and lever arch folders hidden away in a storage room. Or archive boxes tucked underneath a table in the corner of the office. You are keeping these documents for accounting purposes, or as a backup for existing customer enquires. Or even needed to keep a record of customer guarantees offered by the company. At some point in time these documents are no longer needed, that’s when you find a shredding company.

Paper shredding is a service that will safely and securely destroy all paper documents conforming to BS EN15713 legislation. And provide a certificate of destruction to show you that the documents have been destroyed.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Organise a date and time for us to visit your office or home.
  2. You organise the documents ready for the site visit. Don’t worry, our cutters go through staples, paperclips, binder clips and rubber bands.
  3. We collect and destroy ALL documents.
  4. Provide you with a Certificate of Destruction.
  5. All paper is recycled thus helping with the environment.
  6. Schedule a return visit sometime in the future.

Get in touch using our contact form or call 0800 612 7309 to have your paper documents destroyed and recycled.

Why should I destroy archive documents?

If you have enough storage space you could store your archive documents forever. But that usually isn’t the case. Businesses usually keep their financial records for at least 6 years. This is a certainly a requirement for the VAT man and HMRC. It really depends on the size of the business and how much of a paper trail you leave behind. All businesses large or small, as well as residents at home, print documents, receipts, invoices etc and everyone receives important letters and documents through the post that need to be kept for a period of time.

At some point you run out of storage space or have an office relocation and that’s when you decide to search for us. Maybe that’s why you are reading this article now! You are looking to shred your old papers to make room for the next influx of documents you need to keep.

What should I shred?

This is an easy question. Anything that has confidential information about a customer, employee, your business or your home. Would you like it if a fraudster found a letter with your name and address on it? Along with your National Insurance number, telephone number and email address? Or a fraudster that found a bank statement with your account number, sort code, name and address along with contact details? Is the answer no? I thought so.

Here’s a list of some of the most common documents you must destroy:

  • Bank statements – These documents have names, addresses, sort codes, account numbers and your purchasing history. Fraudsters can use this information to apply for loans, take out credit cards and mobile phone contracts in your name. Fraudsters can also use your purchase history to target you with phishing scam emails related to the products you buy. In the hope you will fall for their tricks and enter your personal details for them to gain access to your account on that particular website.
  • Utility bills, Insurance policy documents – These documents have names and addresses on them. And can be used by fraudsters to prove ‘they’ live at that address.
  • Payslips – It has everything on this document including your National Insurance number. Your NI number can be used as another verification tool for fraudsters.
  • Invoices, Receipts, Purchase orders – It has a wealth of customer and supplier information on these documents.
  • Email print outs – We all print emails to use as a reference when we have to do something or action a customer order that needs to be placed on the IT system. Have a think about what information is transferred between the two recipients on that email. Information such as email addresses, telephone numbers, addresses, banking information, reference numbers etc. All this information can be used by fraudsters to build up a profile against you and your business.
  • Employee review documents – Are you in a managerial role? Then you will have documents relating to a colleagues performance. Maybe information about their salary and any bonus scheme. All your work colleagues are trustworthy, but sometimes there will be that one to seek and find private information to use against you or the business.

These are just some examples of documents you should destroy. They are many more.  Depending on the type of business you have, there will be printed details about someone that could easily be used by fraudsters. In a study by Envirowaste in December 2016, only a third of companies destroy private documents. This was based on 800 London-based businesses where almost two-thirds do not use paper shredding services before binning or recycling them.

Fraud and Identity Theft is on the rise

Identity fraud is when someone steals personal information and use your identity for their own financial gain – this usually comes at a high cost to the individual they are targeting. Fraudsters can then use identity details to:

  • Open bank accounts
  • Obtain credit cards
  • Order goods
  • Take over existing bank accounts
  • Take out mobile phone contracts
  • Obtain genuine documents such as drivers licences and passports

It is estimated that identity thefts rise to nearly 500 victims a day according to the Financial Times in August 2017. More than four in every five identity thefts occurred online with fraudsters applying for products such as loans or insurance in someone else’s name, using documents they found or stolen.

It’s OK to throw everything into the waste bin right?

We’ve all been guilty of this, including myself. But this was in the early years of technology and the World Wide Web. I keep calling them fraudsters, but that’s what they are and they have capitalised on the wealth of information easily available to them. Fraudsters only need 3 pieces of information to steal your identity and access your accounts, take out loans, credit cards and mobile phones in your name. All it takes is a name, address and date of birth.

I did a quick search on Google for ‘ico fine for documents found in the bin’. Just on the first page I found the following;

  • Barristers fined for data protection breaches after case papers end up in bin and online. March 2017
  • Online fashion retailer ordered to pay $60,000 following settlement of a data breach. April 2017
  • Council fined after confidential social services papers found. August 2016
  • Betting company facing inquiry after betting addicts details found in bin bag. June 2017
  • ICO fines Scottish Council after staff records binned. September 2012
  • Employee criminally liable under the Data Protection Act for taking confidential information to competitor. June 2016
  • Police documents found in a bin near Manchester canal. November 2017

Just seeing those few results alone and the type of information being found should be enough to frighten anyone. Followed immediately by hiring a company to shred their paper documents.

What’s the new GDPR all about? And how does this affect me?

The General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) are coming into effect in May 2018. Whilst the majority of the new compliance is aimed at online storage and use of customer information for marketing, it does affect ALL information stored by ANYONE. That INCLUDES paper documents with ANY customer or personal details on them. Apologies for shouting, but I wanted to make it very clear that the new GDPR affects everything.

If you or your business cannot be accountable to being being asked why you have personal details or company documents stored, then you should destroy them, or face the consequences. I mentioned before companies have a duty to store VAT accounts for 6 years, but after that, you should destroy them. If you have 3 years of customer orders and haven’t referenced to them since the day you processed the order, you should destroy them. If the ICO turn up and ask why you have all these papers with customer information on them, but you can’t be accountable to why you have them, then destroy them to minimise the risk of being penalised.

What Shredding Services are available?

There are two types of services available. You can choose a regular collection, for the medium to large businesses that produce a lot of paper waste, or a one-off collection or purge as the industry calls it.

  • At regular intervals, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, depending on the amount of paper waste is generated, we come on site and collect all the documents. This is ideal for medium to large businesses including councils and schools and other government organisations. If you think this is what you need, we supply you with a free lockable container where paper can be placed into and can only be opened with a key, which a responsible person will have. The containers are usually placed in the centre of an office, clearly visible by colleagues. A constant visual reminder to place all paper documents in the container. Even a scrap of paper with a mobile number and name scribbled on it passed onto accounts to call, could and would breach Data Protection Laws if thrown in the bin and found. Every site visit to destroy confidential waste will be documented and a certificate of destruction will be signed for and given as proof.
  • One-Off Shredding is great for residential or commercial customers who only need to have their paper waste destroyed on an ad-hoc basis. A yearly or quarterly clear out, completion of a project or just a ‘spring clean’ are some of the reasons customers call for a one-off paper shredding service. Again, as mentioned above, a certificate of destruction will be given as proof the documents have been destroyed.

What’s a Certificate of Destruction?

Every time we destroy your confidential documents, a certificate of destruction is signed for and issued to you in compliance with the Data Protection Act. It’s confirmation that the documents have been safely destroyed and that the documents can never be reused or fall victim of fraud or identity theft.

Environmentally Friendly

100% of all paper documents destroyed is recycled at one of our centres. That’s over 40,000 tonnes every year. this recycling process reduces the impact on the environment. It is estimated that each tonne of paper that is recycled saves:

  • 2.7 cubic metres of landfill space
  • Every year 17 trees will adsorb 113 kgs of carbon dioxide
  • 1,400 litres of oil
  • 4,000 kw of energy
  • 27,000 litres of water

Are you now convinced you should be regularly destroying your confidential waste?

Shredco UK have regular site visits all across the UK. We are never far from you, your work place or home. For a quotation you can complete the form below and we will call you back. Or for immediate assistance you can call our team on 0800 612 7309. We would be more than happy to answer your questions and explain the features and benefits of having a lockable container in the centre of your office. Or simply organise a one-off paper shredding service.

30% discount for New Customers

Yes, that’s right, we offer all new customers a 30% discount on their service. We promise to beat any quotation. And if you are already using another provider, we can guarantee our prices are very competitive (plus you’ll get 30% discount being a new customer!).

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