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Tag Archive | "ID Theft"

The Story of the PDA

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The Story of the PDA

Posted on 20 March 2012 by Total Secure Shredding

Hey Folks,

I would imagine that there isn’t too many still walking around with a PDA. Better yet, how many people even remember what a PDA is? Do you remember the Palm Pilot?

Well here’s a little story…

Once upon a time, long long ago (at least in terms of computing) back in 1986, the very first portable hand held electronic device know as Personal Digital Assistants or PDAs was released upon the public.

These devices were designed to get rid of those old fashioned paper day planners in which you would right down all your appointments and important contacts. And perhaps, if you were so inclined, you would also annotate your own personal information (just in case someone found your day planner – they could return it) and other important information like account numbers and pins.

So these PDAs were able to perform all the same functions as a paper day planner or organizer, but just not as easily or conveniently.

They often included such functions as:

  • Appointment calendar
  • A to-do list (everyone loves a “to-do” list!)
  • An address book
  • A Calculator (a very novel idea indeed)
  • A memo or “note” program.

These PDA’s would save infinite amounts of time required every year copying all the information over from last years planner. From the busy executive to the average stay at home mom, this was manna from heaven not to mention digital efficiency at its finest. Perfect organization; never again late for an appointment; and no more forgetting important dates like birthdays or anniversaries.

At first, you needed a little stick, known as a stylus, to write on the PDA’s glass screen in order to input your information. These PDAs tried to recognize your handwriting, but as you could probably guess, it never worked as well as writing on paper. After all, half the time we can’t even read our own writing, how in the world is a computer going to read it!

So a virtual keyboard was designed that would appear on the screen and you would tap each virtual key one at a time with your little stick to input your data. Of course this took forever, but at least once that data was put in, you never had to input it again.

Then, a brilliant engineer came up with the idea of adding button onto the face of the PDA in order to facilitate data entry. It didn’t take very long until a full mini keyboard was included on the front of the PDAs to streamline data entry.

Everything was going along just fine until one day someone realized that they were carrying both a cell phone and a PDA. And, as luck would have it, the cell phone had many of the same features as the PDA including contacts and the ever present, tool for all occasions: A Calculator.

So again, one day, another brilliant engineer came up with the idea of combining the PDA and the cell phone. After many years of careful thought, a new device was created to replace the cell phone and the PDA. This device was called the Smart Phone!

Today, it is very hard indeed to find a mere cell phone or a PDA… They are all but extinct. However, it is equally rare to find someone without a Smart Phone. These Smart Phones can now browse the internet, send personal messages, play music, and even play games for hours on end.

Of course Smart Phones can still make phone calls, create a “to-do” list, be used as a calculator, contain an appointment calendar, and create a memo… however they just don’t perform these functions very well. Many times, instead of using your Smart Phone, we still use the old fashioned methods of paper and pen for data functions. And if you want to make a quality phone call where you can actually hear the other person talk, it’s often best not to use your cell phone.

So although PDAs, and now Smart Phones, have not made us any more efficient or less likely to forget an important birthday or anniversary, there is a high likelihood that you did try to input some important sensitive information into that old PDA or even a new Smart Phone.

If that is the case, it might be worth while to get that old PDA shredded to make sure none of that information falls into the wrong hands.

Until next time…

Keep Totally Secure!

Head Shredding Guy

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Children Targets of ID Fraud

Posted on 26 July 2011 by Total Secure Shredding

A recent article points out that thousands of inactive Social Security numbers are being found and sold online. The reason these Social Security numbers are inactive is due to the fact that they belong to children who have yet used them to ascertain credit.

The Better Business Bureau is warning parents to be on the lookout for signs that point to their child’s identity being compromised or stolen.

Last year, 8.1 million adult Americans were victims of ID theft, resulting in the loss of $37 billion, according to a report from Javelin Strategy and Research.

It can be difficult to determine if you child has become a victim of Identity Fraud since it is often years before the fraud is uncovered.

The BBB proposes these three steps for parents to take in order identify and correct underage ID Theft:

  1. Parents with children under the age of 13 can request a credit report from the credit reporting agency Trans Union. If a report exists, there could be a problem and credit reports should then be requested from Esperian & Equifax. If a credit report doesn’t exist, you child’s ID should be ok.
  2. Watch for pre-approved credit cards in your child’s name that may be coming in the mail

The FTC also recommends to run a child’s credit report at age 16 so there is enough time to dispute any incorrect information before your child starts applying to college.

Please feel free to leave any other tips you may have about protecting your child’s Identity in the comments section below.

Until Next Time… Keep Totally Secure,

Your Friend,

Head Shredding Guy
Total Secure Shredding, Inc

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Ever Lost Your Wallet?

Posted on 22 July 2011 by Total Secure Shredding

Hey Folks,

Do you know that sinking, sick to your stomach, feeling you get when you realize you’ve lost your wallet?

I’ve been there done that!

Now try loosing your wallet while on active in the military while down in Cabo San Lucas with your Military I.D. still in your wallet. Getting a new Military I.D. required your commanding officer’s approval – Let me just say he wasn’t all too happy about that!

But for the most part, you’re not going to have to worry about getting a new Military I.D., but you are going to go through the mental agony of trying to remember what exactly was in your wallet…

Which credit cards do I need to cancel; Great, I need to make an appointment with the DMV; Winning $80 Million Lottery Ticket (pretty much can write that one off!)

Well I found this story a few weeks ago on ABC’s Good Morning America.

It goes through how to keep a nice and tidy wallet that will help prevent I.D. Theft in the event your wallet is lost or stolen.

Here are the top 3 things no one should ever keep in their wallet:

  1. Never keep your Social Security Card in your wallet.
  2. Never keep your Passport in you wallet.
  3. Never keep a list of your passwords and account number in your wallet.

So remember to keep the contents of your wallet to a bear minimum just in case the unfortunate occurs.

Oh, and I’d love to hear your story about the event that transpired around a recent lost wallet story and how you were able to get it taken care of.

You may or may not be happy to know I did get a new Military I.D. without getting into too much hot water. The funny thing about it, I actually recovered that wallet! The cleaning lady at the hotel I was staying at in Cabo San Lucas found my wallet and somehow it made it’s way to the U.S. Embassy in Tijuana. Someone from the Embassy called my parents in Tennessee (being active duty in the military, I still was using a Tennessee Driver’s License), my parents called me, and I went down to the Embassy and picked it up. Believe it or not, everything was still in the wallet!

Goes to show there are still some good folks out there in the world.

Until next time… Keep Totally Secure.

Your friend,

Mike Krauss
Head Shredding Guy

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You’re Asking Me For WHAT!

Posted on 09 December 2009 by Total Secure Shredding

Combo Lock Credit CardHey Folks,

Last weekend I was getting a new hosting account set up with a new web site hosting company that was recommended to me. I’m starting to get things set up for a new Internet project that I’m working on – unrelated to Paper Shredding… But I Digress.

Everything went smooth with entering all my details on-line including my credit card information.

This actually took place last Saturday so I figured I would hear back from the company the following Monday that everything was now set up and I could start using my account.

But strangely enough I received an email from a “technician” which stated the following:

Before we can approve your new hosting account,
please fax the following into our offices:
1.) Credit card used to sign up the account
2.) Photo ID of the person's name on the credit card
Please fax this to:
ATTN:  New Accounts
Fax#:  xxx-xxx-xxxx
Once we receive this information we will immediately
process this order.
If you do not have access to a fax machine, you can
also scan this information and attach it to this email.
Thank you.

A number of things immediately started coming to mind about how weird this is…

I’m not new to ordering stuff on-line… As a matter of fact, I do it all the time – sometimes for large dollar value items.

Strange enough, this purchase was actually a relatively low cost item.

And since I run a Secure Paper Shredding Company, I’m so stranger to ID Theft – I hear these stories all the time. Not to mention my company checking account was hacked for a few grand last year!

So here is how I responded:

Why do you need this information?

This email seems odd… Real close to losing the sale!

Mike Krauss

The next day, Sunday (which I also found surprising), I received the following response:

Hello Mike,
Thank you for contacting us back
This is to protect both the security of "COMPANY NAME"
and of it's customers (or soon to be customers in your case)
to prevent fraud orders. If you are worried due to security,
you can cover up all the numbers but the last 4 digits on
the credit card as they are the only ones we need for
verification. I hope that helps and if there is anything
else we can do for you please feel free to let us know. We
are here to help with anything else you might need.
Thank you for your time.

At this point, this company gets kudos for having some pretty good customer service. But still being worried about their security measures, I replied with the following on Monday:

I’m hesitant to even send a copy of the credit card with the account number blocked out except the last 4.

In No Way will I send a copy of my driver’s license.

Just to let you know, I’m the owner of a Secure Shredding Company in San Diego and I take ID Theft Extremely Serious.  Also, I’d like to think I am a little more knowledgeable about ID Theft and the laws that are in place to prevent it.

I suggest you take a look at your company’s written “Red Flag” rule policy for preventing ID Theft. This policy is Mandated by the FTC and since you are requiring such sensitive items from customers, there has to be a written policy in place ensuring these documents, once received, are handled properly and then destroyed.

Also, if your Visa/MasterCard Merchant Account agreement is anything like mine, you also know that requesting picture ID to accept a credit card violates that agreement. I assume you take a lot of credit card payments via the Internet, putting your merchant account in jeopardy doesn’t seem like a wise idea.

There must be other ways to verify the legitimacy of a new account – the way you decided on is extremely inappropriate.

When I opened a hosting account on GoDaddy this wasn’t a requirement. I see a big billboard behind my office for Host Gator and I wonder if they also require this type of account verification.

In any event, you’ve given me “fodder” for my next blog entry on ID THEFT.

Depending on how you respond to this email will determine whether I can trust your company any further or simply ask for a refund. (The amount is already pending in my account.)


Mike Krauss

CEO & President

Total Secure Shredding, Inc.
When Security Matters Most

3584 Hancock St.
San Diego, CA 92110

Toll Free: (800) 536-4832 x750
Office: (619) 295-5474
Direct: (619) 889-7518
Fax: (866) 669-0729

Since I’m sure they don’t get many emails like this from Owners of Shredding Companies, this email was followed up with a phone call from the company from a live person who simply asked to confirm the last 4 digits of the account number on the credit card I used to purchase the web site hosting account – Nothing more, Nothing Less – Which seemed to be a reasonable request without me having to give up valuable personal information.

Again, I give this company credit for having some pretty impressive customer service…

The point of all this is that nobody should ever ask you for a photo copy of your ID and your credit card when making any type of credit card purchase. And even if they do, they better have damn good reason for asking

With ID Theft being so rampant these days, you cannot take any risks with your personal information – no matter what you may be purchasing – the potential costs of ID Theft are way too high.

I hope this serves as a good reminder to you all to protect any and all of your personal information…

And also, maybe my email served as a good lesson to this company, which appears to be a very good company and in the end earned my business, to not take requests for personal information so lightly.

Until Next Time…

Keep Totally Secure,


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Retired Business Man Learns $7,200 Lesson

Posted on 13 November 2009 by Total Secure Shredding

Money in wastebasketHey Folks,

If you’re not 100% convinced there are people looking through your trash… you NEED to read this…

Allen, a successful but now retired businessman came down to our facility just this morning to get four boxes of documents shredded.

Allen shreds everything now, but that was not always the case…

When Allen sold his house a few years ago he had a few boxes of items to get shredded…

And because we all know what a royal pain those little shredder are, Allen decided to just throw his papers (Including Old Canceled Checks) right into the trash.

… within two and a half months, Allen received an urgent phone call from his CPA (Never A Good Thing) letting him know that his checking account had been ripped off for $42,000 and there was immediate danger of bouncing checks!

Not only was the cash missing, but Allen had to go to his kids with his tail between his legs and let them know his blunder - You see, his kids are now running the business!

It took a year and a half of coaxing the criminals responsible for the caper that jail time wasn’t in their best interest and that they should give the money back. Fortunately, Allen was able to get everything back but about $7,200. (It would seem the thieves didn’t have the guts or time to spend it all.)

Even still… $7K is a real expensive lesson to learn!

Now back to this morning…

Allen was able to walk into my facility and get everything he needed shredded in just a matter of minutes (10 minutes of shredding and about 20 minutes of shooting the bull between the two of us.)

Not only did he watch everything get shredded in person, he also had a Certificate of Destruction in hand to bring to his kids letting them know there was going to be no repeat performance of the ID Theft fiasco.

The final price tag – $23.80

The moral of the story is that personal office shredders, even the ones you pay a couple hundred bucks for, really suck!

Not only are they time consuming but they Force You Into Taking Shortcuts

… After all, nobody would ever think to look into your garbage to find anything of value – Right?

Head on over to our Secure Drop-Off Shredding Page to get all the details on how we can help you out on your shredding CHORES.

Until next time, keep Totally Secure,


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