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Health-related information. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) is a federal law designed to protect patient privacy. Under this law, any health information needs to be safeguarded and disposed of properly, from medical records to health insurance claims. Not complying with HIPPA can not only be disastrous (and potentially embarrassing) for your clients and patients, but it can be catastrophic for your practice or health insurance company. Do you really want to find yourself out of business?

Travel papers. Unless you’re holding on to those used airplane tickets from your trip to New York for sentimental reasons, chances are you just want to Antibiotic-Resistant Microbes toss the things. Shredding your old travel documents – including your expired passports and itineraries – can help protect you from identity theft.

Business documents. In these rough economic times, it’s important for your business to stay competitive and in the game, so to speak. That said, there are certain documents you don’t want the competition getting their hands on, such as sales reports, marketing plans, and operating expense data. Shredding these types of items will enable you to stay successful.

Financial papers. This is one should be an no-brainer. Anything that pertains to your financial life needs to be shredded once you’re done with it. That includes bank and credit card statements, those annoying credit card offers, canceled checks, and so on. Even your old credit and debit cards can be shredded with the right paper shredder, so you can be sure your credit card and bank data will never wind up in the wrong hands.

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Now you know which documents you absolutely must shred. So the next time you’re tempted to simply throw out a bank statement or other sensitive document, think twice and shred it instead!