Opsus.com

Opsus.com - Paper Shredding Blog

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

HOW DOES FACTA AFFECT YOUR BUSINESS

As a business owner you spend an inordinate amount of your time complying with Federal and State rules and regulations. From licensing to taxes this paperwork is either farmed out or simply added to your “to do” list. What makes this worse is that these tasks distract you from your number one objective – making money.

What you don’t want to do is miss one of the rules and find yourself in a penalty situation- or worse.

One of those rules is FACTA – The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003. Under this law the Disposal rule commissions you – the business owner – with the responsibility of preventing unauthorized access to or use of your customers’ credit information. Recent class action lawsuits have lead to penalties of up to $2500 per customer affected!

Your responsibilities in this area are simple. Well, as simple as law writing rules will allow. As a business owner you must:

  • Burn, pulverize or shred papers containing consumer report information so that the information cannot be reconstructed.

Unless you own an incinerator, burning is not an option. Do you really want to be carting business records home to use them as kindling in your fireplace? The real option is shredding. Again, unless you invest is a top-of-the-line industrial shredder you run the risk of shredding papers that can (and will) be reconstructed by identity thieves. You must perform the same procedures to protect any electronic information.

Our expertise is not in on-line identity theft protection. However, assuming you have taken proper steps to protect your IT systems you may still find yourself with old hard drives or disks that contain this sensitive consumer information. One way to protect this information is to physically destroy the devices using a destruction service provider.

Contracting an independent, document and data destruction vendor is not as simple as picking up the phone and calling a “shred guy”. These contractors must be audited and certified by a recognized trade organization.

The process for secure document and electronic media destruction is a complex one that involves not only the right equipment but rigorous “chain of evidence” procedures that guarantees the material will not fall into the wrong hands.

As a business owner – do you really have the time to do all the work necessary to comply with FACTA yourself? More importantly – how much is your time worth?

Needless to say, our advice is to hire a licensed, bonded information destruction firm like Office Paper Systems. We are fully compliant, independently certified and utilize state-of-the-art equipment required to protect your customers from identity theft.

You can also take advantage of our free shredding service, freesecureshredding.com, and we will securely destroy printed and digital media for free through our drop off program.

Your customers patronize your business because they trust the quality of your products or services. Make sure you continue to earn their trust by protecting their credit information. It’s not only good business – it’s the law.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

To shred or not to shred?

Have you ever wondered what you should and shouldn’t shred? It can be confusing and there is the worry you may shred something that you may eventually need. Identity theft is a huge concern and we should all be vigilant about keeping personal information safe and secure. Are you aware that if you throw documents out in your trash that contain personal information you are at risk? Someone can legally go through your trash and take your information. This is commonly referred to as dumpster diving.

There are many documents that can be shredded without worry. Medical bills, bank statements, paid credit card & cable bills, address labels from junk mail and magazines, pre-approved credit card applications; and the list goes on and on.

Other documents can be shredded, but only after having them for a certain amount of time. According to the IRS, individual taxpayers should keep their tax returns and supporting documentation for at least 3 years and any property related materials should be kept for an additional 3 years after selling.

There is of course information that you should never shred such as wills, power of attorney, birth certificates, marriage documents, divorce or child care orders, trust documents, business agreements, military records and IRA contribution lists, to name a few.

Your identity is very valuable and should always be “yours”. Paper shredding is one of the best ways to protect your personal information. Shred all documents that you are certain you will not need and if unsure, store your records in a secure place until you are ready to destroy them.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Identity Theft Protection

It seems a day does not go by that we aren’t reading an article about how computer hackers have stolen someone’s identity. The focus is usually on on-line identity theft. Protect your passwords, keep your security software up-to-date, don’t open strange emails, etc. These are all great tips. However, many thieves still operate the old fashioned way – by combing through dumpsters.

We may be moving to a paperless society but think about how much or your personal information is still stored on paper – from tax documents to school records to financial information. This does not even take into account what you receive in the mail every day. While you may live your life on-line you still have a significant paper footprint laying around your home or office.

By law, once you have placed anything in the trash it is “public” property. As a matter of fact, The FBI still lists “dumpster diving” as one of the top avenues for identity theft. Simply trashing your old documents can make you a target for identity thieves.

This is why the market for home shredders continues to grow. Generally, you will find one of two types of shredding used in homes and offices - strip shredders and cross-cut shredders. These are both inexpensive options and offer in-home convenience. The question is – are they the most secure way to dispose of your sensitive paper documents?

The answer is no. A strip shredder generally cuts your paper into long strips while the cross-cut turns it into confetti. Unfortunately, savvy thieves- using a publicly available program like The Unshredder can actually reconstruct your shredded documents.

This is a time consuming process and is likely for only the most committed of criminals. Still - it can be done.

At OPSUS we use a rotary grind shredder that tears and rips the paper at irregular angles making it almost impossible to reconstruct a document.

The ancillary benefit of this process is that your former documents are recycled into new paper products. This provides the dual benefit protecting your identity and saving space in your local landfill.

Identity theft is a serious industry that costs businesses an estimated $211 BILLION annually. On a more personal level, on average 10% of Americans are victimized by identity theft each year at an average cost of $5000.

We’re guessing you don’t just have $5000 lying around the house. Or, maybe you do – in the form of un-shredded information.

If you don’t need it – shred it!

Friday, August 19, 2011

WHAT HAPPENS TO THE PAPER WE RECYCLE

Have you ever wondered what happens to the stacks and boxes of paper you recycle? You read about how paper recycling saves energy, trees and landfill space while reducing the emission of greenhouse gases like methane. And, you’ve likely seen numerous products that are stamped “made with recycled paper” while doing your back to school shopping.

But how does the actual process work?

It starts with you. The first step in the process is when you place your old paper in a recycling bin or drop it off for shredding.

The discarded paper is then taken to a facility like ours where it is sorted. For example, glossy magazine paper requires a different process than shredded tax records. At Office Paper Systems we bale shredded and recyclable materials and ship the bales to paper mills for reprocessing.

Once these bales reach the paper mills they are prepared using various processes. The paper may be subjected to a large magnet to remove any loose staples or paper clips. It could be spun in a centrifuge to separate water soluble additives like glue.

At this point, the paper is chopped and blended with water. This destroys its original shape and allows it to be worked into different forms and types of paper. This is called “pulping”. This process generally happens quickly as most paper types are easily broken down.

Part of the pulping process requires the removal of all the ink – this is especially true for recycled newspapers. Generally, the raw pulp is treated with chemicals or bleach to create an even color.

After pulping, the paper is screened and drained. Screening is the process whereby the pulp is placed on a flat surface. This allows for water drainage and begins to restore the paper to its original shape.

This pulp is now the raw material paper mills use to create new paper, office supplies, cups – even insulation. However, what paper is recycled into often depends on its original quality. For example, high grade paper such as computer/copy paper or stationery is often recycled into more of the same – or tissue products. (Yes, you could be sneezing into what was originally an inter-office memo.) You will also see some of this high grade pulp used in the making of cardboard boxes and brown grocery bags. This is because the higher grade fiber provides the strength needed for these products.

Other so-called mixed use papers – like old cardboard or lower quality paper types – are molded into items like egg cartons or other consumer packaging products.

While there might be some concern in the chemicals used in the pulping process, most paper mills are now switching to greener products that reduce their impact on the environment.

In the long run, taking the time to place all your paper products into the recycling bin or taking them to a recycling facility for shredding benefits us all.

And, if you are ever curious about what you should or should not recycle – remember this easy tip: If you can tear it, you can recycle it.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Design for the Environment

The United States Environmental Protection Agency's Design for the Environment (DfE) partnership program recognizes safer consumer and industrial products.

The EPA recently announced over 2,500 products will now carry the DfE label. This label will help consumers identify products that are safer for their families and the environment.

The DfE's standard for safer cleaning products has been enhanced and products will now have to clearly list all non-trade secret ingredients on there packaging as well as the continued use and development of sustainable packaging under the sustainable packaging coalition criteria.

The following excerpt has been copied from the epa.gov website and identifies some of the consumer benefits of using a safer product for the home and the environment.

Protecting your family and the environment

When you use a cleaning product, it is released into the environment-inside your home and down the drain to the outdoors. Adults come in contact with cleaning products on a regular basis, as do children who are often the most exposed when they crawl on the floor. Some consumers may prefer cleaning products that, for example, are inherently safer or do not irritate sensitive skin. Others may prefer products that break down quickly and do not harm fish or are safer for use around family pets. The DfE logo is an easy way to know you are choosing a product that is as safe as possible for people and the environment.






Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Gone Green Publication

Office Paper Systems recently contributed to the first edition of Gone Green, a special publication by the Gazette of Politics and Business. This publication highlights Maryland based companies that adopt and implement green practices or specialize in helping others create sustainable "green" programs for their business or community.

The special release was distributed in the April 1st edition of the Gazette of Politics and Business and will reach almost 20,000 area businesses. Along with the printed edition an online flip book has been created to showcase the companies involved.

You can find our article on page 35, please click here to view the online version.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

New Position Available

Class (B) CDL Driver position available.

We are currently looking for an experienced Class B CDL driver / warehouse employee. Applicants must be able to pass a security background check and drug screen, have a clean driving record, and customer service skills.

Please follow the link below for job description and application form.

http://www.opsus.com/careers.xml

The closing date for applications is 2/28/2011