Are you protecting your clients' data?

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Bank branches have been exposed as the worst offenders when it comes to leaving confidential client information vulnerable to theft, thanks to a bit of old fashioned detective work carried out on the part of the National Association of Information Destruction (NAID-ANZ).

The NAID-ANZ, which is the peak body for the secure destruction industry, hired private detective agency, The Private Group, to find out what customer information various businesses were chucking into their unsecured bins.

The investigator went through the contents of publicly accessible waste bins used by businesses that have an established responsibility to protect client data, with the aim of discovering the relative percentage of confidential waste that might be available on a given day in Sydney.

The findings within some sectors were troubling, to say the least.

Nearly half (40%) of bank branches were found to have dumped confidential documents – with information such as account names, account numbers and balances - into easily accessible and non-secure rubbish bins.

NAID spokesperson, Nick Hill, assured us that financial planners proved far more thorough. Of the 16 planning offices examined, no confidential information was uncovered. However, Hill warns that the study simply involved someone ‘casually’ looking at a bin, rather than dissecting it in an overly-thorough manner. While this bodes ill for bank branches, he says it’s no ‘cause for complacency’ amongst planners.

Global NAID CEO, Bob Johnson, says the issue of inadequate confidential document disposal is particularly concerning due to the fact that identity theft is on the rise.

“According to the Australian Crime Commission, identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the country. Studies have shown that these criminals often rely on low-tech, untraceable sources of personal information. Dumpster diving is a big part of their trade craft.”