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Dumpster Diving for Data

June 30, 2016


If you’re familiar with the term “dumpster diving”, you probably associate is with searching dumpsters, trash cans and recycling containers for potentially valuable items and/or food.

But dumpster diving is also one of the most popular ways for identity and data thieves to get access to personal and corporate documents and the sensitive and valuable information they contain.

And it’s not just paper that they’re looking for. A recent article in the North Kentucky Tribune noted that dumpster divers on the hunt for electronic parts for resale could end up with an old mobile device that contains personal information, passwords and photos, all of which can be used to steal an identity.

Corporate Data Found in Dumpster Dives

A story out of Singapore revealed how easy it is to get very sensitive information from a company’s recycling bin. And if you think that Singapore is far way, it many ways, it isn’t. It’s one of the largest financial and commercial centres in the world, a leading technology hub and a major transportation terminus. In other words, corporate information from around the world might at some point pass through Singapore.

According to the article, “our treasure (what they found) includes sales plans, bank statements, passport photocopies, phone bills and cross-sell project plans.” The article notes that there was no need for elaborate hacking, or scams or computer skills. Interestingly, it also points out that, by getting the actual paper documents from the garbage and recycling containers, there is no “paper trail”, similar to what hackers can leave in a cyber-attack.

Not Just Identity Thieves

Yet another news story out of Texas shows that it’s not just identity thieves checking your garbage for valuable documents and information. Two women arrested while digging through trash outside a hotel were found to have “folders containing the names, credit card numbers, or social security numbers of more than 50 people who stayed at the hotel.”

But the women weren’t identity thieves themselves. One of them told police that the information is commonly traded for drugs to those who then pass it along to the identity thieves.

So What Are Your Options?

Depending on the type of information you have via on paper or an electronic device you can either find a certified hard drive and media destruction company that specializes in electronic recycling and data destruction and of course document and paper shredding services.

Find out how Papersavers can protect your personal and corporate information. Call us today!

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