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07 October 2019

Dumpster Diving for Identity Theft – Document Shredding is Prevention

Dumpster diving is a real threat to every individual and business so you need to shred all of your paper records before they are discarded.

Dumpster diving is legal in the United States except where prohibited by local regulation. According to a 1988 Supreme Court Ruling (California vs. Greenwood), when a person throws something out, that item is now the public domain. Here is some language from that Supreme Court ruling: “It is common knowledge that plastic garbage bags left on or at the side of a public street are readily accessible to animals, children, scavengers, snoops, and other members of the public.”

However, if a dumpster is against a building or inside a fenced enclosure marked “No Trespassing,” that may help reduce access but who watches their dumpster 24/7?

Medical records, resumes, personal photos, emails, bank statements, account details, payroll records, information about company pricing, client proposals, and so much more have all been found while dumpster diving. Don’t take chances have a professional document destruction company shred all your documents so they can’t be found in a dumpster.

Who Are Dumpster Divers

People are dumpster divers for many reasons.  Some people are unfortunately looking for food, clothing and things to survive. Others have nefarious intentions and are looking for private information to commit identity theft or corporate espionage.

Why Is Dumpster Diving Successful?

Unfortunately, people are unaware, lazy, or never think identity theft is going to happen to them.  Good people never think of illegal actives because they would not do it but that naivety is dangerous.  Some people are lazy and don’t go through the extra steps to make sure any documents they no longer need are shredded.  They just put them in a wastebasket.  Others think identity theft happens to other people, not them.  Combat all of this by not giving your staff a choice and having a “Shred All Policy” this way there is no question you securely destroy all papers being thrown away.

Garbage Can Be an Identity Thief’s Treasure

You may think that the likelihood of anyone locating your confidential papers in the trash is not high and you would be wrong.  Never underestimate what these identity thieves are capable of.  The smallest amount of information can be used by these creative criminals.  They can empty bank accounts or max out credit cards or worse yet open new credit accounts under your name. Some of these thieves sell your company’s information to competitors.  At the end of the day, if someone is careless with documents and makes the mistake by considering their trash, rather than securely shredding them, you could be setting yourself up for consequences that could take years to correct or worse yet put you out of business.

Here’s How To Protect Your Business And Yourself from Dumpster Diving Identity Thieves

Never dispose of any papers in the garbage.  Half of all documents have some piece of private information on them so shred all paper files.

Hire a professional shredding service that will provide you with locked containers to dispose of all paper documents. Documents will only be disposed of in these secure containers.  The shredding company will then come to destroy the documents on a regular schedule on-call based on the volume and frequency you need shredding services.


When in doubt shred everything. More records than you realize contain vital information that should be securely destroyed by a professional paper shredding company. Remember that a recycling bin does not mean secure destruction and disposal only shredding can give you that.

Contact us today to speak to one of our experienced representatives about how we can help you protect your confidential records with our secure onsite document shredding service. Call Time Shred today! 855-85-SHRED (74733)