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Confidential Waste Disposal

clip_image002[29]Identity fraud continues to be a serious threat to people and businesses. The government estimates that the cost of such crimes is around £2 billion a year. Therefore, it is imperative that businesses dispose of their confidential waste as safely and securely as possible.

The data protection act is in place to ensure that businesses securely destroy old accounts and archived information; failure to do so can lead to prosecution. To avoid the unlawful disclosure or accidental loss of personal data, every business must have a data control policy to effectively manage their disposal process. Every item that contains personal data (names, addresses, financial and legal details) must be completely destroyed using a secure waste disposal method. The legal responsibility for any information that requires disposal falls to the data controller. It is vital that the data controller receives a certificate of destruction from the company disposing of the documentation as proof that the process was completed securely.

Prior to processing confidential information for disposal, there are a number of ways you can limit the risk of identity fraud:

· The most important step is to create an effective data disposal policy and stick to it.

· Ensure that any documents containing sensitive material are locked away and limit access to only the staff that require it. This reduces the chance of information being disclosed to the wrong people.

· Make sure your staff are well informed about the risk of identity fraud and provide them with your data disposal policy.

· Staff should also be aware that there is a risk involved when supplying company information without confirming who they a dealing with in both online and telephone communication.

· Today, internet security is essential and it is important that your company’s firewall and anti-virus software is maintained effectively.

· Where possible, authenticate and verify the identity of both your employees and customers. Doing so will confirm that they are who they say they are.

Useful guidelines to follow when disposing of confidential information:

· Check your department’s retention periods before destroying any confidential information. Destroying information earlier than necessary may be in breach of the law.

· Double check any paper waste you throw away to be sure that it does not contain any sensitive information which must be treated as confidential waste.

· Place any paper waste that includes sensitive information in a confidential waste bag and ensure the confidential waste bag is kept in a secure location.

· When no longer required, confidential information stored on USB drives, DVDs, CDs, external hard drives and internal hard drives must be professionally destroyed.

· When required contact a reputable disposal company to safely and securely dispose of your confidential waste.

Identity theft is a crime that has continually been on the rise, so using a reputable company to dispose of your businesses information is a crucial step you can take to preventing crimes of this nature.

More information can be found on the LSPS website, or alternatively you can call LSPS on our free phone number: 0800 083 7807.

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