February 20, 2019

Discarded Unopened Mail – Is Your Personal Data At Risk?

Data breaches and failures to enforce proper data disposal has led to a slew of unsavoury news. With recent incidents such as the health data leaks in Singapore, organisations as well as individuals cannot afford to be complacent about data security. Most recently, a post worker in Singapore was taken to task for discarding unopened personal mail in a public waste bin[1] which sparked an outcry amongst the public, concerned of data security issues.

Why should you be concerned?

The discarded mail contained important information for the addressees; for instance, full names, addresses and confidential documents such as billing information and even insurance policies. This information is valuable and could cause harm if placed in the wrong hands. Data mongers and thieves are notorious for manipulating data and are capable of various crimes when in possession of sensitive and personal information such as identity fraud and money laundering.

What can you do to ensure your data does not get exposed?

To prevent data from being accessible to criminals, organisations and individuals should remain vigilant when it comes to disposing of old or unwanted mail. Measures have to be taken to prevent the exposure of sensitive information. As such, here are some tips to enforce smart data disposal that can help to mitigate risks:

  • Apart from storing mail in a designated space until you decide to discard them, mail should only be accessible by authorised individuals. Organisations should also ensure that employees adopt a Clean Desk Policy, where all unwanted documents are securely destroyed or kept away.
  • Instead of disposing of old and unwanted mail into an open waste bin, implement a secure shredding process. This ensures that all confidential data is securely destroyed before it is being thrown away or recycled.

Both organisations and individuals have an equal part to play when it comes to data security. Good data security consciousness aids in enforcing data protection measures, allowing for healthy business practices, whilst reducing the risk of data breaches and fraud.

Protecting your data with secure shredding

To learn more about how Shred-it can protect your documents and hard-drives by contacting us for a free quote and security risk assessment.


 [1] The Straits Times. 2019. SingaPost postman arrested over mail in rubbish bin; IMDA expressed ‘grave concerns’ over incident. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/singpost-investigating-case-of-unopened-mail-found-discarded-in-ang-mo-kio-rubbish-bin. [Accessed 11 February 2019].