The general public is becoming increasingly aware of the threat of identity theft, and have become suspicious of any company or organization that collects and keeps their personal information. Auto dealerships are one of the business types that have almost everything about a customer. The data that they maintain includes everything from social security number to income, driver’s licenses, and credit reports. The fact that auto dealerships have this information in both paper and digital formats makes them one of the most vulnerable for a targeted attack by cybercriminals and this creates a priority to shred both paper and data.
Most dealerships have a secure area for the storage of paper documents relating to automotive sales or leasing. There is usually a pre-established time limit for maintaining the docs and they are then no longer considered viable and are ready for destruction. The best dealerships use a professional and trained document shredding company that makes use of the highest grade shredders to ensure that the documents cannot be pieced together.
It has become both common and acceptable to use digital or e-documents for business transactions and these can be stored in-house, on networks, or in the cloud. If a dealership is associated with specific corporate brands they may also have digital downloads that include personal identity information. All devices that hold this data will eventually experience an end-of-life and will require professional companies knowledgeable in total data destruction to ensure that the customer information or any company proprietary information is completely destroyed. These devices can be everything from in-house computers, to laptops, thumb drives, and ipads. Just “deleting” the information does not secure the data as criminals know how to gain access via a small amount of programming.
A 2018 report showed data theft from auto loan/lease involved almost 10,000 individuals and was increased 43% over previous years. The best auto dealerships are aware that this information alone can keep customers skittish about coming to a dealership to purchase or lease a vehicle. One of the latest additions in dealership marketing has been to incorporate the data destruction information as part of the discussion, with some going so far as to incorporate the guarantee of personal information data destruction into a customer contract/agreement. Demonstrating that an auto dealership is conscientious of the personal information that they house can give customers a sense of reassurance for their purchase or lease so that it is a potential positive for an increase in business.
In the past, some auto dealerships may have taken the path to try to save money by destroying paper and digital documentation. These choices did not always weigh well as they are not professionals in the data destruction industry and left unchecked, may have allowed some of the information to be breached. It is critical to use a licensed, trained, and professional document and data destruction company such as SHREDDRS for reassurance of complete and total destruction.
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