More provisions of the state’s new law designed to better protect you against identity theft are taking effect this month.
Businesses and organizations that handle sensitive consumer information such as your Social Security number or account information now must make sure that data cannot be used by unauthorized persons when it’s disposed.
“Shredding is certainly the number-one way that that will be handled,” says Maria Audas with the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs. “And there are requirements for how well it has to be shredded. The law states that it has to be unreadable or undecipherable. So, just ripping it up and throwing it in the trash can isn’t going to cut it.”
Audas says the department may fine or sue organizations that do not shred their materials properly. And she says computer files and hard drives containing sensitive consumer information must also be erased or destroyed when discarded.
Audas says the main method of compliance is for organizations to thoroughly shred consumer documents. And she says that’s a good rule of thumb for private individuals to follow, as well. “One of the best ways we encourage consumers to protect themselves is to destroy, completely destroy, any written materials that have Social Security numbers, account numbers, financial information of any kind.”
The new state law requires businesses or agencies to promptly notify consumers if there is a security breach of sensitive information. Knowing and willful violation of the law makes an organization subject to a $1-thousand fine for each person whose information is accessible because of the breach.
(thanks to WVOC, Columbia)