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What is trashing and how to avoid it?

Usually this personal data is on paper, computer, video or in the cloud. By wanting to eliminate documents or materials where this information appears, you can expose yourself to fraud such as trashing.

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4 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Do you throw away documents, tickets or invoices at home? It is important that, when disposing of them, you do so responsibly. The real estate portal Propiedades.com shared some recommendations to protect your personal data and avoid trashing in your home.

What is personal data?

Personal data identifies you and distinguishes you from others, points out the Infoem. It is about: name, telephone, address, fingerprint, license number or social security. Also medical and financial data.

“This information is useful to carry out paperwork or transactions physically or online,” adds Leonardo González, Real Estate analyst at Propiedades.com .

What is trashing?

Usually this personal data is on paper, computer, video or in the cloud. By wanting to eliminate documents or materials where this information appears, you can expose yourself to fraud such as trashing.

This crime exists both physically and digitally. They both consist of searching for and retrieving important information from the garbage. Also, passwords that you saved on your computer and then sent to the recycle bin.

The INAI indicates that, to recover this information, criminals can apply artisan procedures, such as collecting broken documents, searching for the pieces, and putting them together with tape. Another is the use of specialized software.

How to avoid physical trashing?

The INAI explains that destroying and erasing information is important to protect your confidentiality, integrity and availability.

To avoid physical trashing, the institute suggests shredding. In this regard, González recommends that, before buying a shredder for domestic use, you analyze the type, size of the cut and capacity.

Although the INAI does not recommend these techniques very much – due to their environmental impact – you can also delete your data by incineration or use of chemicals. The first is an option to destroy documents, reducing the paper to ashes.

In the second, specialists from The Competitive Intelligence Unit (The CIU) explain that the ideal is to use alcohol. “The water does nothing to them, but if you add alcohol to them, you will see how it is destroyed,” they say.

In the case of tickets, they suggest reviewing sensitive information and crossing it out with an indelible black marker. Meanwhile, the Condusef advises that, when you get home, you watch your mailbox and take your account statements or bank documents as soon as possible.

Also, when you go to the ATM and receive the ticket, do not leave it at the branch. Better destroy the bits and throw them away when you get home.

What to do in the event of attempted fraud?

Ernesto Piedras, CEO and general director of The CIU, explains that the ideal is to have a culture of prevention at home.

If for some reason you did not delete an important document correctly and you receive a call mentioning your full name and the termination of your card, the first thing you should do is hang up and contact your bank as soon as possible.

When you implement these techniques, in addition to protecting your personal data, you also protect your wealth and that of your family. Put them into practice and live more safely.

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