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Identity Theft

UPDATE Article Ed. 5 2019 - 06-05-2020

Identity Theft

Do you casually discard your letters and receipts? If you don't usually worry about issues like identity theft, it's time to pay more attention. Sadly identity theft is becoming ever more insidious as we are being forced to live more of our lives via electronic means, but the old system of obtaining your details through discarded paperwork still exists and in surprising ways. Not only does this leave you open to potential fraud, but also perhaps to being involved in lengthy and costly lawsuits. With a little forethought we can help avoid such problems by disposing of some things more effectively. --Désolé, pas de traduction française disponible --

For your safety (and mental health), destroy these documents before placing them in the dustbin (blue bin).

1. BOARDING PASS
Boarding passes are on the list of documents to tear before you throw them away. The barcode included in the label can include your personal information, as well as your location log and even how often you travel. What makes this even more frightening is that there are scanners that can be downloaded to Smart phones and websites that specialise in deciphering this information and are completely accessible by simply searching the World Wide Web.

2. MEDICAL PRESCRIPTION
Although the number of electronic prescriptions already represents 95% of prescriptions in Portugal, paper medical prescriptions can still be used and found frequently. Before you throw them away, make sure you tear them up properly: these documents include your personal and medical details, as well as drug dispensing codes.

3. RECEIPTS
Simply open your wallet to find dozens of completely lost receipts (some of them already time from your trips to the grocery store, favourite clothing stores, or restaurant. These apparently useless small pieces of paper contain your personal information and, in the case of credit card purchases, may even include your signature.

4. CV
You should not get rid of your resumes without first destroying them in order to hide all your data. You may discard an older version that has old address or contact details on, but they generally contain your entire academic and professional record, as well as your personal information.

5. RSF LETTERS
The letters you receive at home with the “most amazing latest offers” and the “most awesome articles” and include an RSF (or prepaid) reply envelope, where you just need to make a simple tick in the box that confirms your willingness to receive a particular product.

They may seem harmless, but they do contain your personal information which, in the wrong hands, can be used to commit various frauds on your behalf. If you don't usually follow up on these free shipping coupons, it's best to tear them up before you put them in the dustbin.

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