This is something of vital importance. Your bank, your employer, your doctor, all use copy machines. All copy machines contain a "hard drive" similar to the one in your personal computer, and or lap top. The important thing to understand, is that most places of business lease these machines, they do not own them. When the lease is expired, the machine goes back to the leasing agent/company. The machines are then sold to anybody and everybody. The "hard drives" in these copiers, are not scrubbed (erased), not ever. That means, that whoever purchases these copiers, also has all the information in the hard drive, and the data is easily extracted. If your doctor for instance, ever made a copy of you health record, and he now has a new copier, your health record is in the hands of someone else, who else? No way of knowing! The same is true of you local bank, has anyone at the bank copied your account numbers, loan numbers, and savings certificates, did they do it last year? If they did, all of your personal information is in the hands of, who knows? An unsavory character in say Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore, California, there just is no way to track it down. The hard drive of a document copier, is a treasure to any thief, especially the dreaded Identity Thieves. While you and I are spending a $100.00 a year on Life Lock, or some other credit protection service, there are thieves out there downloading your entire life, not from the trash in your office, or home, but from someone Else's used copy machine. This is a failure by the copy machine manufacturers, unintentional I'm sure, but a failure just the same. Now that CBS has done an investigation expose' on this very subject, you can bet that pre-leased and pre-owned copiers will be flying out of warehouses, from one end of this country to the other. Of course, not very many people watch CBS these days, but word travels fast in the thieving business. You can bet that somewhere in China, Russia, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, or Tim Buk Tu, someone is looking for a way to steal all you've got. Ask your doctor, banker, and investment broker what they did with last year's copier, ask them if the hard drive was scrubbed, I bet they have no idea!!!
Speaking of thieves, Middle Tennessee has been hit with a devastating flood situation this past week, and we're still recovering from it. Whenever there is a natural disaster like this one, the thieves just seem to come out of the woodwork. There are many reputable charity organizations set up to handle donations of goods, services, and money, use them. Be good stewards of your money, and be generous in giving, but be vigilant at the same time. Just as there are predator's waiting to pounce on innocent flood victims, there are also innocent flood victims, that are NOT so innocent. We have already run across self- described flood victims, who are scamming on Craig's list, with fraudulent ads. They are all using the same story," I have to sell this item, because we lost everything in the flood." " I wouldn't be selling this, but since the flood we need the money." The truth is, most of them have never lived near a flooded river or creek, and some don't even live in Tennessee. Be aware, there are thieves who will take advantage of your good nature. The adage " If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is." These are good words to live by. Give generously, but at the same time give wisely. "The Lord loves a cheerful giver."