Dumpster Diving

Dumpster Diving

Dumpster Diving

Did you ever wonder what kinds of people dig through dumpsters in search of something of value?

Their activity is called “dumpster diving,” and although there are those who do it for such things as leftover food, furniture, and bottles, there are other people who in the last few years have turned trash into gold.

You in a Trashcan

If you are like virtually everyone else, you probably have countless pieces of financial data come to your home every week.

If you think about it, you usually get bank statements, credit card data, and much more pretty much daily.

Naturally, you glance over all of this and then what?

You will usually throw it into the trash can and assume it’s destined for the local landfill.

Unfortunately, in many more cases than anyone cares to admit, there are a lot of hands that will touch your trash anywhere along the disposal process.

Many of those hands are aiming to steal anything they can, and most importantly, your identity.

If you think it would be an easy process to determine who did it, you have another thing coming.

Coming to a Trash Heap Near You

Perhaps the most confounding thing about identity theft is the fact that it’s not very hard to do.

All a thief needs is critical details of your life and they’re in business.

And if you think that nobody would stoop to digging through trash to gather your financial information, think again.

The truth is people do it every day.

Pride and morals are not job requirements for identity thieves.

All identity thieves need is one bag of the right trash–especially from your office trash can.

They can have access to statements you received from the bank, creditors, and almost anyone else.

With the right bag of trash, identity thieves have struck the lottery.

The same information that you think you have used and will never see again have just opened the floodgates of your personal life for every unscrupulous thief out there.

All they need to do now is load themselves up with your data and they will have everything they need to not only get credit cards, but probably even empty your bank account.

You’re Pre-Approved!

When was the last time you received one of those nagging credit card pre-approval letters. We get them virtually every day.

Unfortunately, you probably casually throw them away.

Even worse, the same information contained in those letters is precisely what identity thieves can use to ruin your life.

And if that doesn’t worry you, think about the amount of your data that ends up in the materials thrown out by department stores, accounting firms, and many other sources every day.

Each one of these is a potential target for identity thieves.

The good news in this is that identity theft is preventable by being careful with what you throw away.

If something has personal information on it, shred it. Also, cut up old debit and credit cards so they can’t be read, much less used by thieves.

This might be a little tedious, but it will save you a lot in the future.

Dumpster Diving Resources

  1. http://www.spamlaws.com/dumpster-diving.html
  2. http://www.imakenews.com/accushred/e_article001190083.cfm?x=b11,0,w
  3. http://business.time.com/2012/04/17/10-ways-youre-going-to-get-your-identity-stolen/slide/5-dumpster-diving/

14 thoughts on “Dumpster Diving

  1. Sarah says:

    This is very scary but not surprising. I always destroy bank statements very carefully. Sometimes I shred them and in extreme cases I have dissolved them in hot water! In any case, it’s crucial to be alert and destroy any paper or information that could be used against you. Criminals will go to incredible lengths to steal your details and use them for illegal purposes.

  2. Cheska J says:

    I always cut up any important papers in many pieces before throwing them into the trash or if I’m in the reach of a paper shredder, I always shred them. I think I’ve just always been extra cautious knowing my mom suffered from unsolicited credit card transactions from a very well known shopping site (Until now we aren’t exactly sure what caused it)… You could make a dedicated article about tips on how to prevent getting our important stuff getting used by dumpster divers! It would really help those like me who always want to ahead of those fraudsters.. 🙂

  3. Brandon Woods says:

    Thanks to how far technology has gone, we no longer get our bank statements in the mail, none of our bills come through and certainly not our tax prep info. We’ve opted for everything to be paid or obtained through online services. And though we do get those credit card pre-approval crap, we have 2 shredders…one for paper and another for the card they send in the envelope with the solicitation. Definitely not taking any chances.

  4. Chris D. says:

    I had no idea that the pre-approved mail we receive also needs to be disposed of carefully! I usually just rip them in half, which I realize isn’t enough in order to destroy the information it contains. I guess from now on those are going to have to go in the shredder, too!

  5. Julian Holst says:

    I see people throwing away important data and I just cringe. It seems like a no-brainer to me to shred everything that contains sensitive data.

  6. Marc B. says:

    Like you, I cut up important documents before throwing them in the bin. I even bought a heavy duty paper shredder just for this purpose. I also separate the shredded paper so there’s no way for shady people to put the pieces together. It’s not that I’m a paranoid or some kind of a freak, but I believe that card companies cannot fully help us protect our confidential documents. The most that they do is help us after the breach is done. I really think that we should do things to minimize our risks to identity theft or whatever kind of fraudulent activities some nasty people think of.

  7. Kimberly Norman says:

    I didn’t realize that people ACTUALLY went dumper diving for people’s information. I thought this was just a term. I’m surprised that even those credit card requests can be used against someone. It’s even more frustrating that there’s not much to be done about that kind of spam. I guess the only want to really know if someone has used this kind of information to make some kind of account in your name is to get your credit report regularly

  8. No Identity Theft says:

    Everyone should go to your local Office Depot or Staples and buy a shredder. They are inexpensive and should be in every office and home. It takes two seconds to shred something so why not do it? Why would you even want to put yourself in a position for someone to dig into your trash and get your important information. That’s a great idea about an article on tips to prevent dumpster divers. Will do!

  9. No Identity Theft says:

    You are exactly right Marc and you are not paranoid. I do the same thing. lol. I shred and then separate pieces of the shredded content and throw them out in a different garbage bag. I don’t want to take any chances of someone piecing all the pieces back together. You can never be too careful in this day and age.

  10. No Identity Theft says:

    People will do just about anything to make a quick dollar. They will jump into trash cans and dumpsters. We all should take the initiative and buy a shredder so they can’t take any information from you. They will end up diving into the trash for nothing that way.

  11. No Identity Theft says:

    I recommend that people get PO box’s. That way thieves can’t get into your mail and steal your credit card offers. It’s another reason why it’s really smart to get identity theft protection, because they will contact companies on your behalf so you don’t get nearly as much junk mail offers in the mail.

  12. No Identity Theft says:

    Unfortunately Julian, people aren’t that smart and they are careless. People have the mentality, “oh, that will never happen to me.” And then it does and they wonder why? It’s something that can be averted if you pay attention.

  13. No Identity Theft says:

    I am glad the article helped you out Chris. Always shred everything that has your information on it. Identity thieves will do just about anything with information that they can get their hands on. If everyone does that simple step of shredding documents, that would cut down on thievery immediately.

  14. No Identity Theft says:

    I am a huge proponent of getting all e-statments. Anytime you can minimize risk I am all for it. You are applying the information we talked about! That’s awesome. Keep up the good work Brandon!

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