Business Columns & Blogs

Shred your personal information for free April 21 in Nampa

Copiers and fax machines can contain personal information too.
Copiers and fax machines can contain personal information too. MCT

For many of us, this time year invokes a need to give our home a thorough scrubbing. But as you bust out the mop and feather duster, consider the spring cleaning that begins with your electronics.

Better Business Bureau Northwest & Pacific is teaming up with Shred It, Western Records Destruction, Computers for Kids, Icon Credit Union and Mayes Financial to offer free document shredding and electronic recycling. So, mark your calendars for Saturday, April 21, and bring your old documents and electronics to the College of Western Idaho campus in Nampa. A special thanks to Nampa police volunteers, as they will be on site to run traffic control.

Aside from personal documents, your BBB will be accepting computers, cellphones, hard drives, printers and network equipment. Many old computers, laptops, and tablets still contain personal information and in the wrong hands could be detrimental to your privacy.

While we would love to see everyone out this Saturday, don’t worry if you’re unable to make it. There are ways you can safely dispose of your electronics.

Keep the following tips in mind:

▪  Know what devices to get rid of: Computers and mobile phones aren’t the only devices that capture and store sensitive personal data. External hard drives and USBs, tape drives, embedded flash memory, wearables, networking equipment and office tools like copiers, printers and fax machines all contain valuable personal information.

▪  Clear out the clutter: If you have a stash of old hard drives or other devices — even if they’re in a locked storage area — information still exists and could be stolen. Wipe and destroy unneeded hard drives as soon as possible.

▪  Decide what to do with the device: Once the device is clean, you can sell it, trade it in, give it away, recycle it or have it destroyed. Note the following:

▪  Failed drives still contain data: On failed drives, wiping often fails, too; shredding/destruction is the practical disposal approach for failed drives. Avoid returning a failed drive to the manufacturer; you can purchase support that allows you to keep it — and then destroy it.

▪  To be “shredded,” a hard drive must be chipped into small pieces: Using a hammer to hit a drive only slows down a determined cybercriminal; instead, use a trusted shredding company to dispose of your old hard drives. Device shredding can often be the most time- and cost-effective option for disposing of a large number of drives.

Veronica Craker, veronica.craker@ thebbb.org, is the content and communications director for Better Business Bureau Northwest +Pacific. To check a business or report a scam, go to bbb.org or call 208-342-4649.

Shred it in Nampa

Bring your old documents and electronics from 10 a.m.-noon, Saturday, April 21, to the College of Western Idaho Micron Education Center, 5725 E. Franklin Road, in Nampa. Follow the signs.

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