Should Your Law Firm Invest in a Shredding Service?

Posted by Ryan Richard

Any firm, whether medical, law, accounting or other industry that deals with client records, should use shredding services. These types of firms must keep client records for a specific amount of time, after which, if the client doesn’t want his or her file, the file may be disposed of. However, you can’t just dump the file in the landfill.

Responsible document disposal means using a document shredding service that tracks confidential documents from your office to the mobile truck or our warehouse where they are shredded to the final stage where your shredded documents are mixed with others’ shredded documents, baled and sent to a paper recycling plant.

Additionally, media should be shredded to protect your clients’ personal information. Media includes hard disc drives, CDs, USB drives and other digital storage media. Even if you delete the information or “wash” the digital storage media, people are still able to recover the information that you thought you deleted or erased. Carolina Shred has the equipment to shred digital storage media so that information is impossible to recover.

Shredding the Right Documents

Even something as simple as an address could give criminals a link to stealing a person’s identity. Using a shredding service for document disposal significantly lowers the chances of a privacy breach. Documents that should be destroyed include anything with an address on it including junk mail. Accounting firm shredding and law firm shredding may also include documents such as tax returns, property deeds, birth certificates, pay stubs, death certificates, auto titles, social security numbers/cards, divorce documents, marriage certificates, bank statement, medical bills, credit card receipts, sales receipts and utility bills.

All industries receive mail, including junk mail. While the mail should probably be shredded, only the page with your address on it – or a client’s address – needs to be shredded. The rest of the junk mail may be thrown out in the trash.

Shredding Industry Laws

In 1988, the Supreme Court ruled on California vs. Greenwood, which states that if you throw confidential information, including your address, into the trash, it is fair game to anyone. In other words, it’s not illegal for anyone to look through your trash and take that information. It is, however, illegal to use that information, but that doesn’t stop identity thieves. The easiest way to avoid this is to keep your information out of the trash.

Laws in the shredding industry are actually laws that govern how industries must keep their clients’ information safe to prevent identity theft. Because Carolina Shred also handles consumer information when institutions retain us to shred their documents, these laws also apply to us.

HIPPA protects information gathered by insurance companies and the healthcare industry. The Financial Modernization Act of 1999 or the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act protects information gathered by financial institutions and other institutions that handle consumers’ financial information.

The Privacy Act of 1974 protects any information that the federal government maintains on individuals and entities. This includes internal revenue service records, military records and those who contract with the government. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act regulates how non-hazardous solid waste is handled. This includes landfills where your personal information may end up – but hopefully doesn’t. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act dictates how schools that receive certain program funds from the U.S. Department of Education handle documents and/or records.

Contact Carolina Shred

To keep your information safe, use shredder service near me. Carolina Shred provides a locked shredding box – or more if you need them – to keep documents secure while they are waiting to be shredded. This means that you don’t have to keep them stored in filing cabinets where they take up space. This also allows you to discard old files as their time is up instead of waiting and then having to take the time to go through the filing cabinets before your shredding truck appointment. Contact us today to discuss your shredding needs and to set up a schedule for us to pick up your documents or shred them at your business.